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General Editor 
Principal WALTER F. ADENEY, M.A., D.D. 










T. C. ^ E. C. JACK 




"A \ 





TION ....... I 



IV. THE DIDACTIC BOOKS . = . . - 30 




IX. APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE {conttfiued) , . 89 





XIV. THE APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS {conttfiued) . 1 55 

INDEX c . 180 






The first question which naturally suggests itself in 
approaching the study of Jewish Apocryphal literature 
is, Why should we trouble about the Apocrypha at all ? 
What value has the Apocrypha for us to-day ? Im- 
mersed as we are in theological problems of the first 
importance, why should we devote time and strength to 
the study of books which have been unanimously re- 
jected by the whole of Protestant Christendom ? 

This question might be answered in various ways. 

There are many grounds upon which the Apocrypha 
can lay claim to our interest. 

I. We must remember that up to the time of the 
Reformation the Apocrypha formed an integral part of 
the Christian Bible. It is true that many of the Chris- 
tian Fathers drew a distinction between the Apocrypha 


and the rest of the Old Testament ; but after the fifth 
century the distinction was almost universally forgotten, 
and for a thousand years the Apocrypha held a well- 
nigh unchallenged place in Holy Writ. The Council of 
Trent definitely decreed that it was of equal authority 
with the other books of the Bible, and this position is still 
maintained by Roman Catholics to-day. Even after the 
Reformation the Apocrypha still held a high place in 
the affections of a large number of Protestants, though it 
was assigned a subordinate position as compared with that 
of the other books of Scripture. The sixth article of the 
English Church, for instance, defined the position of the 
Apocrypha thus : " And the other books (as Jerome saith) 
the Church doth read for example of life and instruction 
of manners ; but yet doth it not apply them to establish 
any doctrine." It was not till 1827 that English Bibles 
began to be commonly printed without the Apocrypha. 
The Apocrypha, therefore, has played no insignificant part 
in the history of the Christian Church. For more than 
half the time, during which Christianity has been in ex- 
istence, it was regarded as an integral part of Scripture, 
and during the other half it has exercised an influence only 
second to that of the inspired books themselves. For 
this reason alone,'no student of Church History or Chris- 
tian Doctrine can afford to neglect the Apocrypha. We 
are bound to recognise the force which it has exercised in 
shaping Christian thought and moulding Christian char- 


acter. And though the question of the Canon has been closed 
and is not likely to be reope?ied^ the Apocrypha, as I shall 
hope to show presently, has still an important role to play 
in the work of theological reconstruction, which is the 
immediate task that lies before the Church. 

2. The Apocrypha has claims upon our interest on 
account of the intrifisic value of some of its books. 
There can be little doubt that, if it were possible for 
us to revise the Canon of the Old Testament, very many 
people would prefer to substitute Ecclesiasticus for 
Ecclesiastes, and the Book of Wisdom for the Song of 
Solomon. Some might even, like Josephus, consider 
L Esdras an improvement on our Books of Ezra and 
Nehemiah, while the religious tone of Judith is un- 
doubtedly higher than that of Esther. The spiritual 
value of much of the Apocrypha has been recognised in 
the Church from the very first. Traces of its influence 
are obvious in the pages of the New Testament. Some 
of Paul's arguments in the Epistle to the Romans were 
undoubtedly inspired by the Book of Wisdom, and 
the language in which the author of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews describes Christ (chap. i. 1-3) w^as borrowed 
from the same source. The Fathers of the Church 
always recognised the worth of the Apocrypha, and, for 
the most part, treated it as Scripture. When Augustine, 
towards the end of his life, made an anthology of the 
passages of Scripture which he considered specially 


helpful for the culture of the spiritual life, the quota- 
tions from Ecclesiasticus occupied no less than an eighth 
of the book (36 pages out of 285 in Wehlrich's edition 
of the " Speculum "), twice as much space as was given 
to the Gospel of St. Matthew. Even though we may 
think that Augustine attaches too much weight to 
Ecclesiasticus, it is impossible to dispute the proposition 
that the best books of the Apocrypha are undoubtedly 
worth reading for their own sakes, and contain much 
that is profitable and stimulating. 

3. The Apocrypha is also of immense importance 
from a historical point of view. Between the latest book 
of the Old Testament (the Book of Daniel, which dates 
from about 168 B.C.) and the birth of Christ, there is a 
a gap of more than a century and a half. During this 
period, radical changes took place both in the political 
and religious condition of the Jewish people. Why 
should our interest in the history of Israel cease with 
Daniel? ^^'hy should we ignore the interval between 
the two Testaments? If the story of the Maccabaean 
struggle for freedom does not appeal to us, the history 
of the development of Jewish theology ought surely to 
command our attention. God's revelation of Himself 
to Israel did not end with Ezra. It is impossible to 
think of Him as silent for four hundred, or even for a 
hundred and fifty years. There was no hiatus in the 
Divine preparation for the advent of the Messiah. The 


religious and political movements during this inter- 
mediate period profoundly affected the life and thought 
of the infant Church. For this reason alone, if for no 
other, the Apocrypha is of priceless value to us, [since it 
is the source from which we derive most of our know- 
ledge of Jewish history during the years that separate 
the Old Testament from the New\ 

4. A knoivledge of Apocryphal literature is absolictdy 
indispensable for the scientific study of the New Testa- 
ment. It is no exaggeration to say that New Testament 
criticism has been simply revolutionised during the last 
ten years, and the revolution has largely been produced 
by the publication of the Jewish Apocalyptic writings. 
New problems have been raised which never before ex- 
cited serious attention. We cannot, for instance, read 
the Epistles of Paul to-day without asking questions which 
never troubled theologians in the past. It is impossible 
for us to take Paul's statements just as w^e find them. 
We are bound to ask. What is the source from which he 
derived his ideas ? How much of his theology, for in- 
stance, is simply Judaism carried over into Christianity ? 
To what extent is his interpretation of Christianity 
coloured by his Pharisaic training ? What is the origin 
of the thought-forms in which he clothes his Christian 
experience ? Whence did he obtain the categories which 
he uses in explaining the Person of Christ or the 
Doctrine of the Atonement? What is the validity of 


these ideas for modern theology ? Questions like these, 
and many other similar problems which confront us in 
New Testament criticism to-day, can only be answered 
by the scientific study of Apocryphal literature. As 
Sandayand Headlamsayin their Commentary on Romans, 
" It is by a continuous and careful study of such works 
that any advance in the exegesis of the New Testament 
will be possible." Two epoch-making books have already 
appeared which illustrate the tremendous importance of 
the new method. Dr. Charles' " Eschatology " throws 
a flood of light on the Pauline doctrine of the Future 
Life ; and Tennant's " Sources of the Doctrine of Ori- 
ginal Sin " has proved conclusively the influence of the 
Apocrypha on this particular aspect of Pauline theology. 
These books are only the pioneers of a new principle of 
criticism which must, sooner or later, be applied to the 
whole range of New Testament theology. In this work, 
the effects of which upon the theology of the future can 
scarcely be foreseen at present, the Apocrypha is destined 
to exercise an enormous influence. It may be said, there- 
fore, that a knowledge of A pocryphalliterature is even 7nore 
essejitial for the study of the New Testa7ne?tf than a know- 
ledge of the Old Testa?nent itsetf The present handbook 
is merely an attempt to give an account of the literature, 
but an opportunity has been taken, wherever it was pos- 
sible, of pointing out the value of each particular book 
for the student of the New Testament. 



The term Apocrypha in its technical sense has been 
used since the time of the Reformation to describe a 
collection of Jewish books, whose claim to be regarded 
as part of the Old Testament has been challenged by 
the Protestant section of Christendom. This collection 
comprises some fourteen works of varying character and 
value. They may be classified as follows : — 

1. Historical Works. — I. Esdras ; I. and II. Macca- 


2. Didactic Works. — The Wisdom of Solomon ; the 

Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus). 

3. Religious Romances. — The Book of Tobit ; the 

Book of Judith. 

4. Prophetic or Apocalyptic Works. — The Book of 

Baruch ; IV. Ezra (sometimes called II. Esdras). 

5. Additions to the Old Testament. — The addition to 

the Book of Esther; the Prayer of Manasseh; 
the three additions to Daniel, viz. {a) The Song 
of the Three Holy Children; {b) The Story of 


Susanna ; (c) The Story of Bel and the Dragon. 
Most of these additions might very properly be 
placed in the class of Religious Romances. 

What is the Apocrypha ? — The Christian Church 
in modern times first became conscious of the existence 
of the Apocrypha at the Reformation, though individual 
scholars and theologians had of course always known of 
it before. Up to the Reformation the Bible in common 
use was the Latin version originally made by Jerome, 
and known as the Vulgate. When, however, Reuchlin 
reintroduced the study of the Hebrew language, and 
Protestants began to read the Hebrew original of the 
Old Testament, the discovery was made that the Vulgate 
contained many more books than the Hebrew Bible. 
T/ie name Apocrypha was accordingly given to those books 
which were found in the Vulgate but not in the Hebrew 
Bible. But how did the books get into the Vulgate? 
If they were not part of the original Hebrew, whence 
did Jerome obtain them ? The answer to the question 
is simple. The Jews in the early centuries of the 
Christian era had two versions of the Old Testament, 
one the original Hebrew, which was used more par- 
ticularly in Palestine, the other a Greek translation, 
called the Septuagint, which was originally made at 
Alexandria and used by the Greek-speaking Jews of the 
Dispersion. The Greek Bible, like the Vulgate, contains 


the extra books, known as the Apocrypha (with the ex- 
ception of IV. Ezra), which are not found in the Hebrew, 
and it was from the Greek Bible that Jerome intro- 
duced them into. his Latin translation. The Apocrypha 
therefore represents the difference between the co7itents of 
the Hebrew Bible and the Sepiuagint plus IV. Ezra. 

The Origin of the Apocrypha. — The statement 
that the Apocrypha is the excess of the contents of the 
Septuagint over the Hebrew Bible, only drives the 
question which was raised about the Vulgate a stage 
further back. We have still to ask how the Apocrypha 
got into the Septuagint when it is absent from the 
Hebrew. To answer this question it is necessary to 
consider the problem of the origin of the Old Testament 
Canon. It is impossible to go into the details, or discuss 
the debatable points connected with this important sub- 
ject. All that can be done here, is simply to state the 
main conclusions with regard to which there is general 
agreement amongst modern scholars. How, then, was 
the Old Testament formed ? Obviously it did not drop 
from the skies, and equally obviously its books were 
not composed at the same time. The Old Testament 
is a collection of books written by many different 
people over a period of several centuries. How were 
the books collected together? It is certain now that 
the collection was not made at any one particular point 
in the history of Israel, though it may have received 


official sanction at a particular date. The Old Testa- 
ment was formed very gradually, and over five hundred 
years elapsed between the beginning and the end of the 
process. The chief points in the evolution of the 
Canon were as follows : (j) In its earliest form the Old 
Testament consisted merely of " the Law." The word 
" Law," however, in this connection is used in a broad 
sense, and covers the six books of the Hexateuch. 
These books were recognised as authoritative about 
444 B.C. or perhaps in their present form a little later. 
If the Bible of 400 B.C. had been stereotyped, it would 
thus have ended with the Book of Joshua. As a matter 
of fact, the Samaritan Old Testament only contained the 
Pentateuch. (2) In the second stage, a further collec- 
tion, consisting of the prophetical writings, and including 
the historical books {i.e. Judges, I. and II. Samuel, 
I. and II. Kings), was added to the Canon. When 
exactly this addition was made cannot be precisely 
determined, but we know that it must be placed some- 
where between 400 and 200 B.C. The Old Testament 
of 200 B.C. therefore consisted of the Pentateuch, the 
Prophets, and the Historical Books. (3) A final addition, 
consisting of the Hagiographa, and comprising all the 
books not found in the two other sections, was made 
between 200 b.c. and a.d. 100, and the total collection 
received official recognition at the Jewish Synod of 
Jamnia (about a.d. 90), so that the Old Testament, as 


we know it in its complete form, was finally adopted as 
the Bible of the Jewish people about the end of the first 
century of our era. Here the process stopped as far as 
Palestine was concerned. If we ask why a development 
which had been going on for five hundred years should 
have been suddenly arrested, the only satisfactory ex- 
planation that we can find is that it was probably due to 
the revolutionary change in the character of Judaism 
which resulted from the destruction of the Temple. 
Before a.d. 70 the Temple had been the centre and soul 
of the Jewish religion. When its Temple was destroyed, 
it had to find a new centre, and it turned to its sacred 
writings. The first problem it had to settle was the 
question as to what was to be regarded as sacred, and 
what not. The decision of this question was of vital 
importance. Hence the Synod of Jamnia. From this 
point onwards, the Bible took the place of the Temple, 
and Judaism became the rehgion of a book. But though 
the process stopped in Palestine, it did not stop in 
Alexandria. The Jews of Alexandria still went on 
adding to the Old Testament, and the books which 
they added consisted of the writings which we now call 
*' the Apocrypha." We owe the Apocrypha, therefore, 
to the fact that the process of the evolution of the 
Old Testament was arrested at an earlier stage in 
Palestine than it was at Alexandria. 

Reasons why the Apocrypha was rejected. — The 


grounds upon which the Apocrypha was rejected by 
Protestants are not far to seek. Protestantism was 
the religion of a Book. Its seat of authority was the 
Bible. The Bible was to it what the Church had 
hitherto been to Christendom. Its doctrine of inspira- 
tion sharply differentiated the Bible from all other litera- 
ture. It was absolutely necessary, therefore, to reject 
all books of disputed canonicity. The right of the 
Apocrypha to a place in the Bible had never been 
universally acknowledged. It had no place in the 
Hebrew Scriptures. It was with great reluctance that 
Jerome had admitted it into the Vulgate. Several of 
the Fathers of the Church had protested against its use. 
In the face of this divergence of opinion, it was im- 
possible to regard the Apocrypha as inspired Scripture, 
and no book of doubtful inspiration could have any 
place in the Protestant Bible. Besides the divergence 
of opinion, there were other reasons which probably 
weighed with the Protestants, {a) The re-discovery of 
the Hebrew and Greek originals had created a revulsion 
of feeling against the Vulgate. Some of the renderings 
of the Vulgate seemed to afford unfair support to the 
doctrines of Roman Catholicism. The whole version 
was therefore regarded with suspicion, and the suspicion 
naturally extended to the Apocrypha, (b) The Apocrypha 
contained some passages which conflicted with Protes- 
tant theology. The doctrines of the intercession of the 


saints and of prayers for the dead were both clearly 
taught in some of the books. Many passages in 
Ecclesiasticus lent support to the Romanist doctrine 
that "salvation is of works." There cannot be much 
doubt that theological considerations weighed both with 
Roman Catholics in their acceptance of the Apocrypha 
and with Protestants in their rejection of it. Many of 
the old objections have lost their w^eight to-day. The 
rigid theory of inspiration has been given up. Few 
would now deny that there is more inspiration in 
some of the books of the Apocrypha than there is in 
some of the writings included in the Old Testament. 
On the other hand, every impartial student is bound to 
admit that the general spiritual level of the Apocrypha 
^ is nothing like as high as that of the Old Testament, 
and partly for this reason, and partly too because of the 
grave problems that would be raised if the question of 
the Canon were reopened, the verdict, which was passed 
on the Apocrypha by Protestantism at the Reformation, 
is not likely to be reversed. 




There are only three books in the Apocrypha proper 
which can be termed historical, viz. I. and II. Maccabees 
and I. Esdras, and of these three I. Maccabees is by 
far the most important. Its importance is due to the 
fact that it is our chief authority for one of the most 
stirring periods in Jewish history. From it we derive 
our most trustworthy account of the heroic struggle for 
civil and religious liberty which forms almost the only 
brilliant episode in the dreary centuries that separate 
the epoch of the great prophets from the time of Christ. 
As Westcott says, " History offers no parallel to the 
undaunted courage with which the Maccabsean brothers 
dared to face death, one by one, in the maintenance of 
a holy cause. The result was worthy of the sacrifice. 
The Maccabees inspired a subject people with inde- 
pendence : they found a few personal followers and they 
left a nation." 

The Contents of I. Maccabees. — The narrative 


covers a period of forty years from the accession of 
Antiochus Epiphanes in 175 B.C. to the death of Simon 
in 135 B.C., and gives therefore a complete picture of 
the struggle. The book may be conveniently divided 
nito five sections, (i) The caztse of the revolt (chap. i.). 
The writer gives a vivid description of the attempt of 
Antiochus Epiphanes, in conjunction with the Hellenising 
party in Judaea, to abolish the Jewish religion and 
establish paganism in its stead. A Greek gymnasium 
was erected in Jerusalem ; the Temple was desecrated, 
and became the scene of idolatrous sacrifices ; a terrible 
inquisition was instituted, and all Jews who refused to 
abandon their faith were put to death. (2) The outbreak 
of the revo/t {cha.^. ii.). The standard of revolt was raised 
at Modin by Mattathias and his five sons, who gathered 
together a force and resisted the demands of Antiochus 
(167 B.C.). Just before his death, which occurred in 
the following year, Mattathias charged his sons "to be 
zealous for the law and give their lives for the cove- 
nant." (3) The struggle U7tder the leadership of Judas 
(chaps, iii. i-ix. 22). Judas is the hero of the book, 
and the writer dwells at length on his valorous deeds 
during the five years (i 66-1 61) of his captaincy. In 
his first campaign he won three signal victories, the first 
over Apollonius, the second over Seron, the third over 
a large army specially sent from Antioch to avenge the 
previous defeats under the command of Nicanor and 


Gorgias (chaps, iii., iv.). In the following year he was 
again successful against a still larger Syrian army under 
Lysias, and this triumph enabled him to obtain posses- 
sion of the Temple at Jerusalem, which he purified and 
re-dedicated to the worship of Jehovah (chaps, v. and vi.). 
The victories of Judas, and the difficulties which arose 
in Syria after the death of Antiochus, compelled Lysias 
to abandon the policy of destroying the Jewish religion, 
and grant the Jews religious liberty. Judas, however, 
was not content with this concession. The remainder 
of his life was devoted to the attempt to secure political 
independence as well (chaps, vii.-ix.). (4) The leader- 
ship of Jonathan (chaps, ix. 23-xii. 53), which lasted 
from 161 B.C. to 143. After a fruitless guerilla warfare, 
in which Jonathan won some victories, a change of 
fortune took place through a civil strife in Syria. 
Jonathan was made High Priest in 153, and by diplo- 
matic alliances succeeded in maintaining his position 
for ten years. (5) The leadership of Simon (chaps, xiii.- 
xvi.) from 143-135 B.C. Partly by success in war, 
partly by diplomacy, Simon consolidated his position 
and secured complete independence for the Jews. His 
rule was characterised by many administrative reforms. 
In 135 B.C. he was treacherously murdered by his son- 
in-law, Ptolemy, who hoped to secure the position. 

Authorship and Date. — The name of the author 
of I. Maccabees is unknown. It is certain, however, 


that he must have been a Palestinian Jew. This is 
clearly proved (i) by the fact that, as we know from 
the express statements of Origen and Jerome, the book 
was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic; (2) by 
the author's minute acquaintance with the geography 
and topography of Palestine. Many scholars think that 
the religious tone of the book indicates that the writer 
was a Sadducee. The date cannot be fixed with pre- 
cision. The book must have been written before the 
Roman invasion of Palestine in 63 B.C., because other- 
wise the writer's attitude to the Empire must have been 
much less favourable than it is : 63 B.C. is therefore 
the latest possible limit. The earliest possible date 
seems to be fixed by the reference to Hyrcanus in 
chap. xvi. 23. The statement, "the rest of the acts of 
John . . . are written in the chronicles of the priest- 
hood," seems to imply that Hyrcanus was already dead, 
and that an account of his life had been written. The 
death of Hyrcanus occurred in 105 B.C. Consequently 
the majority of modern scholars date the book between 
ICO and 80 B.C. There is, however, another view. Some 
scholars, including Wellhausen, think that the last two 
chapters did not form part of the original book, but are 
a later addition. If this be so, an earlier date may be 
adopted, and some authorities place the book in the 
early part of the reign of John Hyrcanus, between 
140 and 125 B.C. 



Characteristics of the Book. — {a) Its historical value. 
For accuracy and trustworthiness I. Maccabees com- 
pares very favourably with most historical writings of 
ancient times. It is not entirely free from mistakes. 
It represents, for instance, the partition of Alexander's 
empire as having been made by himself (chap. i. 6), and 
it is at variance with the statements of other historians 
with regard to the date of the murder of Antiochus VI. 
chap. xiv. i). No historian, however, not even Thucy- 
dides, is absolutely infaUible, and such errors as have 
been discovered in the book belong for the most part 
to extraneous affairs, and do not affect the essence of 
the narrative, {b) Its freedom from legendary accretions. 
The most remarkable characteristic of I. Maccabees is 
its absolute freedom from mythical elements. It con- 
fines itself to the sober facts of history. The narrative 
contains no miracles, no portents, no supernatural inter- 
ventions. In this respect it stands almost alone among 
ancient histories, and the fact is all the more wonderful, 
when we remember that the writer was dealing with a 
great religious movement, which must have afforded no 
little material that a superstitious imagination might 
have easily developed into supernatural events, ic) Its 
religious tone. One of the most striking features about 
I. Maccabees is its religious reticence. This is not 
due to scepticism or want of faith, however. There 
can be no question about the genuine faith and religious 



devotion which the writer exhibits throughout the book. 
He is in fullest sympathy with the aims of the movement 
which he is describing. He shows the greatest zeal for 
all the institutions of Judaism, for the Law and the 
Ordinances, for the Temple and for the Scriptures. He 
refers to the Divine deliverances of Israel in the past, 
and is confident that " none that put their trust in Him 
shall want for strength." Yet never once, from beginning 
to end of the book, according to the true text, does the 
term "God" or "Lord" occur. The writer either 
describes God by the word " Heaven," or leaves the 
reader to supply his own subject to the verb. The 
writer evidently belongs to a school of thought which 
had lost the sense of the nearness of God, and which no 
longer used the old familiar names. To it God had 
become remote and far away — in fact, little more than 
an abstraction. L Maccabees is lacking, too, in a belief 
in the future life. There is no hint of any reward or 
punishment, or even of any existence after death. It 
contains, however, an adumbration, at any rate, of the 
Messianic hope. Twice the writer speaks of certain 
temporary arrangements which have been made and are 
to continue " till the prophet comes " (chaps, iv. 46, 
xiv. 41). 



II. Maccabees presents many points of contrast with 
I. Maccabees. It is widely different in (a) the scope of 
its contents, (^) its aim and purpose, (c) its historical 
value, (d) its religious outlook. 

The Contents of II. Maccabees. — While the first 
book of Maccabees covers the whole period from 
175 B.C. to 135 B.C., the scope of the second book is 
much more limited. It begins a year earlier, but only 
extends to the death of Nicanor, which occurred in 
161 B.C. Thus it only covers fifteen years, and, like 
the Acts of the Apostles, ends without recording the 
death of its hero. The first seven chapters contain new 
material : chaps, viii.-xv. run parallel to I. Maccabees 
i.-vii. The new material comprises the following ele- 
ments : (a) two prefatory letters from the Jews of Palestine 
to their brethren in Egypt (chaps, i. i-ii. 18), which, how- 
ever, seem to be a later addition and not an integral part 
of the book ; (d) the writer's preface describing the aim 
and source of the book (chap. ii. 19-32); (c) the 
attempt of Heliodorus to plunder the Temple (chap? iii.) ; 
(d) the intrigues amongst the High Priests at Jerusalem 
(chap, iv.); (e) the attack on the Temple by Antiochus 
Epiphanes (chap, v.); (/) the martyrdom of Eleazar 
and .the seven brethren (chaps, vi., vii.). 

The Aim of the Book. — The interest of the author 


of I. Maccabees is purely historical : the book is entirely 
free from any ulterior purpose, and is intended to be 
an unvarnished record of facts. The case, however, is 
different with the second book. The writer definitely 
states that his object was to write for the pleasure and 
profit of his readers. " We have been careful that they 
that will read may have delight, and that they that are 
desirous to commit to memory might have ease, and 
that all into whose hands it comes might have profit " 
(chap. ii. 25). He compares himself to a decorator 
putting the finishing touches on the ornamentation of a 
house (chap. v. 29). The writer's idea of what would 
be profitable to his readers may be gathered from the 
general tone of the book. His purpose is "writ large" 
on almost every page. He is always striving to impress 
upon the Egyptian Jews that they were part and parcel 
of the Jewish race, and so the participants in the glories 
of the Maccabaean age. His great ideal is the unity of 
Jewish people. Centrifugal forces were at work. A 
temple had been established at Leontopolis, and there 
was a danger that the Diaspora in Egypt would be 
completely dissevered from Palestinian Judaism. It is 
against this spirit that the author of II. Maccabees is 
protesting, and he uses the events of the Maccabaean 
struggle to exalt the Temple at Jerusalem and to urge 
the necessity for keeping the Palestinian festivals. 
The book might be described as a tract in favour 


of unity based on the events of the Maccabsean 

Historical Value. — II. Maccabees is of considerably 
less historical value than the first book, for : (a) Historical 
accuracy and chronological order are subordinated to 
the religious purpose of the book. The festivals of the 
Dedication and of Nicanor, for instance, are taken out 
of their proper place in the narrative for dramatic effect. 
There are many discrepancies, too, between the state- 
ments of the two books on points of detail and order, 
and in every case internal evidence favours the narrative 
of I. IMaccabees. {/?) The writer of II. Maccabees has 
a predilection for introducing marvellous and super- 
natural incidents. He speaks of the manifest signs 
which came from heaven (chap. ii. 21). Amongst the 
prodigies related in the book may be mentioned the 
great apparition of the terrible rider who smote Helio- 
dorus (chap. iii. 24-29), the apparition of the horsemen 
fighting in the air (chap. v. 2-4), the supernatural 
protection given to Judas on the battle-field (chap. x. 
29-31), &c. (c) There is a lack of true historical per- 
spective. Minor events often receive an undue emphasis, 
and a disproportionate amount of space is allotted to 

Yet in spite of all this, the fact remains that the 
book possesses no little historical value. There is 
much in it that we have to discount. No one, for 


instance, accepts the account of the martyrdom of the 
seven brethren (chap, vii.) as Hteral history. Neverthe- 
less, by the use of critical methods, it is possible to 
extract many precious grains of fact from the husk of 
fiction which overlays the narrative. 

Religious Outlook. — The dissimilarity between the 
two books is most obvious when we come to the ques- 
tion of religious tone. If the first book can be said to 
represent the Sadducean standpoint, the second is 
certainly written from the point of view of the Pharisees. 
There is no reserve or reticence about the writer of 
II. Maccabees. He is always obtruding his religious 
convictions upon his readers. He never misses an 
opportunity of " pointing the moral " of the story. The 
most (interesting feature in the theology of the book is 
the emphasis which it lays upon the resurrection of the 
dead. There is no other Pre-Christian Jewish book 
where the doctrine of the future life is so strongly in- 
sisted upon as in II. Maccabees. There is, moreover, 
most distinct evidence that the resurrection to which 
the writer looked forward was a resurrection not merely 
of the soul but of the body as well. Most of the crucial 
passages on the subject occur in the account of the 
martyrdoms in chaps, vi. and vii. 

Authorship and Date. — Nothing is known about 
the author except that he was probably an Alexandrian, 
who sympathised with, if he did not actually belong to, 


the Pharisaic party. He derived the bulk of his infor- 
mation from a history of the Maccabees written by 
Jason of Cyrene, whose work he abridged. It is not 
always easy to decide, however, what was taken from 
Jason and what is the author's own production. Nor 
have we any clear indications which enable us to fix 
with certainty the date of either work. There are a 
number of small points in H. Maccabees which have 
led the majority of modern scholars to assume that the 
book was written in the closing decades of the first 
century B.C., between 60 B.C. and a.d. i. It seems 
probable, too, that Jason's History was written about a 
century earlier — possibly between 150 and 120 B.C. 


The different titles which are given to this book are 
somewhat confusing. In the Septuagint it is called the 
First Book of Esdras (Esdras A) ; II. Esdras being equi- 
valent to our canonical Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, 
which originally formed one work. In the Vulgate, on 
the other hand, it is termed the Third Book of Esdras ; 
I. and II. Esdras representing respectively our Books of 
Ezra and Nehemiah. To avoid the ambiguity modem 
scholars often speak of it as the " Greek Esdras." 

Contents. — With the exception of one section, 
viz. chaps, iii.-v. 6, the book is a compilation from 


II. Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The following 
table will make its relations to these books apparent : — 

Esdras i. = II. Chron. xxxv., xxxvi. 

ii. 1-14 = Ezra i. 

ii. 15-25 = Ezra iv. 7-24. 

iii.-v. 6 = The original section. 

V. 7- 70 = Ezra ii. i-iv. 5 

vi. vii. = Ezra v., vi. 

viii.-ix. 36 = Ezra vii.-x. 

ix. 37-55 = Neh. vii. 73-viii. 13. 

The main theme of the book is concerned with the 
rebuilding of the Temple. The chronological arrange- 
ment, however, is hopeless. After mentioning (chap. ii. 
1-14) the decree of Cyrus (538-530 B.C.), the writer 
without a word of warning leaps over a period of 
eighty years, and proceeds to describe (chap. ii. 15-25) 
the opposition encountered from Artaxerxes (464- 
425 B.C.). In the original section of the book we are 
transferred to the second year of Darius (520 b.c). 
Chap. V. 7-70 returns to the reign of Cyrus. In 
chaps, vi. and vii. we are back again in the reign of 
Darius, while the remainder of the book belongs to 
the reign of Artaxerxes. With chap. ii. 15-25 and 
chap. V. 7-70 in their present places, it is impossible 
to reduce the chronological chaos of the book into 
order. The original section is interesting. It gives an 


account of a literary contest between three pages-in- 
waiting at the court of Darius. The three pages submit 
three themes to Darius on " what is the strongest force 
in the world." The first maintains that "wine is the 
strongest," the second that " the king is the strongest," 
the third that " women are strongest, but above all things 
truth beareth away the victory." The last-named, a 
Jewish youth, won the prize, and received as his reward 
a promise from the King that the Temple at Jerusalem 
should be rebuilt. 

Historical Value. — The historical worth of the 
book is a matter of keen controversy amongst scholars 
to-day. At first sight, its chronological inaccuracies 
would seem to put it out of court altogether. There 
are, however, some important considerations on the 
other side, (i) It is clear that Josephus used I. 
Esdras as his authority for this period of Jewish history 
in preference to the other narratives which were at his 
disposal. (2) The position assigned to the book in the 
Septuagint suggests that more importance was attached 
to it at the time than to Ezra and Nehemiah, which are 
accorded an inferior position. (3) The contents imply 
that it belongs to a comparatively early age, when 
Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah were as yet undivided. 
(4) The book was universally accepted in the Christian 
Church up to the time of Jerome. In face of these 
arguments, it is impossible to set the book aside as a 

I. ES DRAS 27 

worthless compilation. The difficulties, however, remain, 
and present an insoluble problem. Josephus substituted 
the name of Cambyses for the Artaxerxes of chap. ii. 15, 
and so removed one very serious stumbling-block. Sir 
H. Howorth, who is the foremost English champion of 
I. Esdras, suggests that the Darius mentioned in 
chaps, vi. and vii. is not Darius Hystaspis, as is usually 
supposed, but Darius Nothus (423-404). Many scholars 
think that the book was a compilation of gradual growth. 
The earliest stratum is the original section (chaps, iii.- 
V. 6). This was placed in a historical setting by the 
addition of chaps, vi. i-vii. 15 and ii. 16-30 from an 
Aramaic document. It was only in the third stage that 
tlie book assumed its present form, the further additions 
being made by a later writer from the canonical books. 
Some such theory seems necessary to explain the 
arrangement of the book. On any hypothesis, however, 
it is clear that the failure of the compiler to arrange his 
sources in proper order does not detract from the 
historical value of the original documents themselves. 

Date of the Book. — The date of the book cannot 
be fixed except within broad limits. Its use by Josephus 
(a.d. 100), and the fact that he would not have been 
likely to use it unless it had already acquired an estab- 
lished reputation, prove that it could not have been 
written later than the early decades of the first century 
A.D. On the other hand, its linguistic affinities with 


the Book of Daniel prove that it could not have been 
written earlier than i68 B.C. We may be tolerably 
certain, therefore, that the book falls between i6o B.C. 
and I A.D., but it is impossible to arrive at any certain 
date between those limits. There is an absolute cleavage 
of opinion among scholars as to whether the book 
belongs to the first or second century B.C. 

Motive of the Book. — Judging from the contents 
and tone of I. Esdras, there seems to be a suggestion of 
three underlying motives for its compilation, (i) One 
of its objects was undoubtedly to establish the dictum, 
" Fortis est Veritas et prsevalebit." This suggests an 
apologetic purpose, and possibly the book may have 
been written in a time of persecution to encourage the 
Jewish sufferers and assure them that ultimately the 
truth was bound to prevail. (2) There is a second apolo- 
getic note in the book. The writer seems to lay stress 
on the fact that great emperors like Cyrus, Darius, and 
Artaxerxes had shown favour to the Jews, and so to 
suggest to the authorities of his own time that their 
attitude ought to be imitated. (3) The emphasis laid 
on the rebuilding of the Temple seems to be intended by 
the author to encourage his readers in a similar project. 
The theory has been propounded that the book w^as 
written to support Onias in his task of establishing a 
temple at Leontopolis. There is, however, no evidence 
in support of the conjecture, and the date of the 


building of the temple (168) is too early for the com- 
position of I. Esdras. 

The author of I. Esdras completely hides his 
identity. It is probable that he was an Alexandrian. It 
seems clear, too, that he did not use the Septuagint version 
of his sources, but either an earlier Greek version which 
has been lost, or the Hebrew original itself. The 
original section of the book shows no signs of Hebrew 
or Aramaic origin. 



There can be little doubt that the two didactic books, 
Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon, constitute 
the most valuable part of the Apocrypha for us to-day. 
These books belong to a special class of writings to 
which the name " Wisdom Literature " has been given. 
They occupy the same position in the Apocrypha as 
Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. 
While the other types of Jewish literature deal with the 
peculiarly national aspects of Israelitish religion and law,! 
the Wisdom Literature moves on a broader plain, and! 
treats of the universal elements in morality and religion.! 
The priests and the scribes were content, for the most"* 
part, with expounding and expanding the enactments of 
the legal code, but the wise men or sages set themselves to 
face the wider problems of life and discover the essential 
truths which lie at the basis of morality. The spirit of 
the sac(e is well described in Ecclesiasticus xxxix. i-ii : 
" He that giveth his mind to the law of the Most High 
. . . will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients. . . . 


He will keep the sayings of the renowned men, and 
where subtle parables are, he will be there also. He 
will seek out the secrets of grave sentences and be con- 
versant in dark parables. . . . He will travel through 
strange countries. . . . He will give his heart to seek early 
to the Lord, and will pray before the Most High. When 
the great Lord will, he shall be filled with the spirit of 
understanding : he shall pour out wise sentences. He 
will direct his counsel and knowledge, and on His secrets 
shall he meditate." 


The Title of the Book.— The word Ecclesiasticus 
means "belonging to the Church" or "used in the 
Church." The title was bestowed on certain books, 
which, though they had not been admitted into the 
Canon, were recognised as suitable for use in public 
worship. Our present treatise subsequently seems to 
have monopolised the term, as being par excellence the 
"Church-book " of the Apocrypha, and so in the Vulgate 
it is called Ecclesiasticus, and from the Vulgate the name 
has passed into common use. In the Greek versions, 
however, the book is generally described as the " Wisdom 
of Jesus, son of Sirach," and so it is often referred to by 
abbreviation as the "Book of Sirach." 

The Author. — The book was originally written in 
Hebrew by Jesus, the son of Sirach, and translated into 


Greek by his grandson, who bore the same name. The 
family relationships are described in different ways in 
different MSS. Many scholars think that Jesus was the 
son of Eleazar, and that the phrase "Son of Sirach" or 
Ben Sira is a family title. Nothing further is known 
about either author or translator. The former is de- 
scribed in some MSS. as belonging to Jerusalem, but 
the text is doubtful. We may infer from certain allu- 
sions in the book itself that he was a man of means and 
leisure, fond of travel, a philosophical observer of life, 
an ardent Israelite, belonging to the religious party which 
afterwards developed into Sadduceeism. 

The Date. — The date of the Greek edition of the book 
may be fixed from the statement in the prologue, "Coming 
into Egypt in the thirty-eighth year when Euergetes was 
king." There were two kings of Egypt named Ptolemy 
Euergetes. The first, however, only reigned twenty-five 
years (247-222 B.C.), and so is impossible. The re- 
ference must therefore be to the second, who reigned, 
partly as co-regent, and pardy as sole king, from 170 to 
116 B.C. The date of the translator's arrival in Egypt 
thus falls in the year 132 B.C., and his book was pub- 
lished shortly afterwards. We may assume that his 
grandfather's original work was written about fifty years 
before. The only other reference of importance bearing 
upon the question of date is found in the eulogium 
passed upon " Simon the high priest, the son of Onias " 


(chap. 1. i). Simon is singled out for such high praise, 
and his achievements are described in such detail, that 
we are warranted in drawing the conclusion that he lived 
near to the times of the writer of the book, and possibly 
may have been contemporaneous with him. Unfortu- 
nately, however, we cannot identify him with certainty. 
We know of two men who answer to the description 
given : (i) Simon I., the son of Onias I. (310-291 B.C.); 
(2) Simon 11. , son of Onias II. (219-199 B.C.). The 
second named fits in with the date mentioned above 
(190-170 B.C.), but we cannot be certain with regard to 
the identification because we only possess very scanty 
information about him. A theory has recently been 
propounded by N. Schmidt that the Simon of Eccle- 
siasticus ought to be identified with Simon the Maccabee 
(143-137 B.C.), the phrase " son of Onias " being due to 
a corruption of the text. There is a good deal to be said 
in favour of this view. It need not, however, affect the 
date which we have assigned to the original work, as 
Schmidt holds that the concluding chapters of the book 
are a later appendix, and did not form part of the 
Hebrew edition. We may safely, therefore, date the 
Greek Ecclesiasticus between 130 and 120 B.C. and the 
Hebrew original between 190 and 170 B.C. 

The Contents of tlie Book. — It is impossible to 
give an analysis of the book. It consists very largely 
of a number of proverbs and counsels strung loosely 



together without any orderly development of thought. 
It gives advice on the regulation of conduct under all 
possible circumstances and in every relationship of life. 
It lays down rules for the training of children, the 
management of business, the treatment of slaves, the 
government of the nation, &c. There is no attempt, 
however, to arrange these precepts on any definite 
principle. The writer turns at random from one sub- 
ject to another. The process by which the book was 
composed seems to have been this. — The writer col- 
lected from every available source striking sayings, 
interesting proverbs, sage counsels, shrewd remarks, 
and apposite phrases, and then without even attempt- 
ing to classify them, threw them together into a book, 
adding here and there dicta of his own. He describes 
himself as " one that gathered after the grape-gatherers, 
and filled his wine-press like a gatherer of grapes " 
(chap, xxxiii. i6). The last eight chapters of the book 
on " the praise of famous men," seem to be a separate 
composition, and are marked by a unity of purpose 
which is entirely lacking in the remainder of the book. 

Religious Teaching. — Ecclesiasticus is of supreme 
importance to us because it gives a clear picture of the 
religious thought and ethical teaching of the second 
century B.C. The doctrine of God represented by the 
book may be described as conventional and common- 
place. The writer is a firm believer in God as the Ruler 


of the Universe and the Lord of mankind, but his state- 
ments are altogether devoid of originahty, and lack 
prophetic insight and passion. "It would have been 
as impossible for him," says Schmidt, " to watch with 
the eyes of an Amos or an Isaiah the doings of Israel's 
Holy One, as to go forth with unwavering faith in his 
own inspiration to deliver the oracles of Yahwe." He 
emphasises the forbearance and mercy of God. " Great 
is the pity and forgiveness of God, for all things are not 
possible to men" (chap. xvii. 25). He attaches very 
Httle importance to the conception of atonement. " Say 
not, God will, look upon the multitude of my oblations " 
(chap. vii. 9). " Concerning propitiation be not without 
fear to add sin to sin " (chap. v. 5). Almsgiving is of 
more importance, as an act of atonement, than the sacri- 
fices of the Temple. The book knows nothing of angels 
or spirits. There are a few allusions to supernatural 
beings in the Greek version, but they are completely 
absent from the original Hebrew. Even when quotations 
are given from the Old Testament, all references to angels 
in .them are carefully obliterated. The sole intermediary) 
between God and Man is the Divine attribute of Wisdom, | 
which is personified and represented as the eternal prin- 
ciple of creation. There is absolutely no place in the/ 
theology of Ecclesiasticus for the conception of a future 
life. " Who shall praise the Most High in the grave ? . . .) 
The son of man is not immortal" (chap. xvii. 27, 30). 


Ethical Teaching. — Ecclesiasticus was intended by 
its author to be a compendium of ethical teaching — a 
kind of vade viecum — the moral "guide, philosopher, 
and friend " of the average Jew in every relationship of 
Hfe. " It gives," as Schmidt says, " more detailed 
directions than any other book in the Bible as to proper 
conduct in different circumstances. It teaches a man 
how to govern his wife, his children, and his slaves : 
how to deal with his friends and his foes, his superiors 
and inferiors, his creditors and his debtors, the rich and 
the poor : how to behave at the banqueting table and 
in the house of mourning, in the home and in the public 
assembly, in the Temple and in the mart : how to control 
his passions, practise moderation, cultivate his nobler 
tastes, emulate the example and seek the company of 
the wise." xA.mongst the more prominent characteristics 
of the ethical teaching of the book we may note : (i) The 
influence of Greek philosophy. Wisdom is identified with 
knowledge according to the Socratic principle. Through- 
out the book the pious man is represented as wise, the 
sinner as a fool. {2) The utilitarian character of the 
system. The writer undoubtedly attempts to connect 
his ethical system with his religion, and to make the 
fear of God his main moral motive ; but all his sanctions 
are prudential ; the end of morality is always the man's 
own well-being and happiness. (3) The externality of 
the ethical teaching. The book deals almost entirely 


with the external aspects of morality : very little is said 
about the aspirations, motives, and ideals of the inward 
life. (4) Limitation to the present life. There being 
no conception of a future existence in Ecclesiasticus, the 
ethical teaching is concerned entirely with the present 
life. The punishment of vice and the reward of virtue 
are dealt out here and now. (5) Individualism. The 
ethics of Ecclesiasticus are individualistic. No interest 
is taken in the national life or in society as a whole. 

The Different Versions of the Book. — The author 
of the Greek Ecclesiasticus says in his preface that the 
book w^as originally written in Hebrew, and Jerome 
states that a Hebrew version was in existence in the 
fourth century a.d. All traces of the Hebrew original 
were lost up to 1896, when Mrs. Agnes Lewis brought 
a fragment from Palestine containing chaps, xxxix. 15- 
xl. 18. This discovery led to further investigation, and 
many other fragments have been brought to light, largely 
owing to the efforts of Mr. S. Schechter. These frag- 
ments contain the bulk of the book, though several 
chapters are still missing. A good deal of discussion 
has been raised as to whether these fragments can claim 
to represent the original Hebrew text. Some scholars 
have maintained that they are a re-translation made 
either from a Persian or Syriac version. On the whole, 
however, it may be said that the consensus of modern 
criticism favours the view that they represent the original 


Hebrew, and regards them of great importance for the 
work of textual criticism. Besides these Hebrew 
fragments, we have versions in Syriac (made from the 
Hebrew), in Latin (made from the Greek), in Coptic, 
in ^thiopic, and in Armenian. 


The Book of Wisdom belongs to the same class of 
literature as Ecclesiasticus, but represents a great advance 
upon it in many important respects. In its prophetic 
insight, in its religious outlook, in the ordered develop- 
ment of its thought, and in the broad range of its ideas, 
it is undoubtedly far superior to the earlier book. 

Contents. — The book may be divided into the 
following parts : (i) Chaps, i.-v. are polemical, and 
attack the current unbelief and pessimism of the age. 
Wisdom is depicted as the source of immortality. 
(2) Chaps, vi.-ix. contain the writer's own positive state- 
ment, based, or supposed to be based on his own expe- 
rience. Wisdom is commended as the source of all 
moral and intellectual power. (3) Chaps, x.-xix. are an 
appeal to the history of Israel in support of the writer's 
fundamental position. Illustrations are taken from the 
lives of the patriarchs, and the early history of the 
nation, to prove that wisdom has always been at the root 
of success, and the lack of it the cause of failure. In the 


midst of this section there is a digression (chaps, xiii.- 
XV.) containing a very strong denunciation of idolatry. 

Aim and Purpose. — The book is partly polemical 
and partly apologetic. Its opening chapters contain a 
very strong attack against " the ungodly." By " the un- 
godly " the writer probably means the Sadducees. He 
describes them as men who deny the future life, and 
are not deterred by the fear of punishment after death. 
" After our end there is no returning." As a result 
they became Epicurean in their attitude to moral ques- 
tions. "Our life is short and tedious," they said; "let 
us enjoy the good things that are present; let us fill 
ourselves with costly wine and ointments, and deck 
ourselves with rosebuds before they are withered ! " 
(chap. ii. 5-9). The arguments with which the Book 
of Wisdom meets the Hedonism of the age imply 
a great advance upon the ethical situation in Eccle- 
siasticus. The writer of Ecclesiasticus is content with 
the simple statement that men should be virtuous 
because virtue is its own reward in this life. That 
position, however, in the interval between the two books, 
had fallen to pieces because it seemed contrary to the 
facts of life. Virtue did not always secure the prize. 
The righteous suffered like other people. The loss of 
the conventional moral sanction drove men over into 
Epicureanism, and it is as a protest against this fatal 
tendency that the Book of Wisdom was written. Upon 


what does the writer base his new Apologetic? He bases 
it: (i) Partly upon his doctrine of the future life. He 
introduces new religious sanctions in place of the old 
exploded Utilitarianism. (2) Partly upon an appeal to 
his ow^n personal experiences. (3) Partly, too, upon an 
appeal to history. It was the first argument, however, 
that constituted the writer's chief contribution to Jewish 
thought. He attempted to redress the balance in favour 
of morality by "calling a new world into being." We 
shall not be far wTong if we say that the Book of Wisdom 
was written to counteract the pessimism and scepticism 
which had been created by the failure of Utilitarianism 
as represented by Ecclesiasticus. 

Author. — We know nothing about the author of the 
Book of Wisdom, except that he must have been an 
Alexandrian Jew. Augustine attributed it to Jesus the 
son of Sirach, but the differences between it and 
Ecclesiasticus put the theory out of court at once. 
Jerome tells us that many of " the old wTiters " of his 
time regarded Philo as its author, and this view was 
accepted by Luther and many other scholars of the 
Reformation period. A careful examination of Philo's 
works, however, reveals such marked discrepancies of 
style, terminology, method of quotation, and philosophy 
that this theory is now universally rejected. An attempt 
has been made in recent times to associate the name of 
Apollos with the authorship of the book. This hypo- 


thesis is based on the assumption that Apollos was the 
author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is nothing 
more than a conjecture, and cannot be substantiated. 
The absence of any specifically Christian ideas is a 
most serious objection to the theory. 

Date. — We have very few data for fixing the date of 
the book. The writer uses the Septuagint of the 
Pentateuch, and the book must therefore have been 
written later than 250 B.C. It is certain that the book 
was known to and used by Paul, especially in the Epistle 
to the Romans. This fixes the latest possible Hmit at 
about A.D. 50. There is the utmost divergence of 
opinion as to the point at which the book ought to 
be placed within these two extremes. Modern scholars 
prefer either a date between 100 B.C. and a.d. i or a 
date between a.d. i and 40. We shall probably not be 
far wrong if we say that the book was written somewhere 
about the commencement of the Christian era. 

Religious Outlook. — The religious teaching of the 
Book of Wisdom is extremely interesting. The writer 
emphasises the omniscience and omnipotence of God, 
yet links with this conception a firm belief in the Divine 
Fatherhood. He lays far greater stress on the love of 
God than other Apocryphal writers. " Thou lovest all 
the things that are, and abhorrest nothing. . . . Thou 
sparest all things, O God, thou lover of souls " (chap. xi. 
24-26). The most interesting point in his doctrine of 


God is the way in which he develops the personification 
of the Divine attribute of Wisdom. "Wisdom is the 
breath of the power of God and a pure influence flowing 
from the glory of the Almighty. . . . She is the bright- 
ness of everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the 
power of God and the image of his goodness. And 
being but one, she can do all things, and remaining in 
herself she maketh all things new, and in all ages 
entering into the holy souls she maketh them friends of 
God and prophets" (chap. vii. 25-27). The concep- 
tions of the Logos and the Holy Spirit are also a 
prominent feature of the book, though the exact relation 
between these ideas and Wisdom is not defined. In one 
passage the three great conceptions — God, Wisdom, 
and the Holy Spirit — are joined together in a manner 
which adumbrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity 
(chap. ix. 17). There can be little doubt that the 
speculations of the writer of the Book of Wisdom 
helped to provide the categories for the Christian 
interpretation of Christ. In fact, some of the language 
in which he describes Wisdom is boldly borrowed by 
the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews and applied 
to Christ (compare chap. vii. 26 and Heb. i. i, 2). It 
is in his doctrine of man and the future life, however, 
that the writer of Wisdom shows most originality. He 
believes, for instance, in the pre-existence of souls, an 
idea which he borrowed from Greek philosophy. He 


holds that man was created for immortality. "God 
created man," he says, " for immortality, and made him 
the image of his own eternity" (chap. ii. 23). "God 
did not make death, and takes no pleasure in the de- 
struction of the living" (chap. i. 12). Death was intro- 
duced into the world through the Fall. " Through envy 
of the devil death came into the world " (chap. ii. 24). 
Another conception borrowed from Greek thought is 
to be seen in the stress which is laid on the dualism of 
body and soul. " The corruptible body presses down 
the soul and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the 
mind" (chap., iv. 15). Wisdom cannot dwell "in a 
body subject to sin " (chap. i. 4). The writer's belief 
in the future life is expressed with indomitable con- 
viction. " The souls of the righteous are in the hand 
of God, and there shall no torment touch them. . . . 
Though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is 
their hope full of immortality" (chap. iii. 1-4). "The 
righteous shall live for ever, and in the Lord is their 
reward" (chap. v. 15). The wicked will suffer retribu- 
tion in this world and the next. 

No one can read the Book of Wisdom without being 
struck by the many points of similarity between its 
teaching and the theology of the Apostle Paul. There 
can be little doubt that it was one of the most important 
sources from which Paul drew the materials out of which 
he constructed his philosophy of the Christian religion. 



The Jews utilised all the resources of literature in their 
efforts to enforce the truths of their religion and kindle 
the flame of religious enthusiasm. History, poetry, 
philosophy, and prophecy were all pressed into service, 
and it is not surprising, therefore, to find them using 
legends and romances — religious novels, as we should 
term them to-day — as vehicles for conveying instruction 
and arousing faith. The two most important of these 
romances are the Books of Judith and Tobit. " The 
Story of Susanna" and "The Story of Bel and the 
Dragon " are further illustrations of the same literary 
principle. It is a fatal mistake to attempt to discover 
history in these works. They are religious novels pure 
and simple, and it is only when we recognise this that 
they become intelligible. 


The Story of the Book.— The tale of Judith has 
come down to us in two different versions. The story 
as it is told in the ordinary version is as follows : 


Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Assyrians, after defeating 
Arphaxad of Ecbatana, resolves to send a punitive 
expedition against the nations between Persia and 
Memphis which had refused to render him help in the 
war. Holofernes, who is put in command, marches 
towards Palestine and occupies the principal towns on 
the sea coasts. The Jews, terrified by the tidings of his 
approach, hastily fortify the hill-country in order to 
protect Jerusalem. Special instructions are sent to the 
fortress of Bethulia, which commanded the situation, to 
arrest the progress of the Assyrian army. Holofernes 
lays siege to Bethulia and cuts off the water supply. 
The people, in despair, beseech the rulers of the city to 
surrender, and they agree to do so unless help arrives 
within five days. Judith, however, hearing of this 
craven counsel, determines to save the city with her own 
hands. After obtaining permission of the rulers, she 
puts off her widow's dress, and attiring herself in her 
finest robes, goes into the camp of Holofernes and 
obtains an audience with him on the plea that she has 
useful information to impart which will enable him to 
take the town. Holofernes becomes enamoured of her 
beauty and invites her to a banquet. She accepts the 
invitation in order to gain her purpose. Holofernes 
drinks deeply and falls into a drunken sleep. Judith 
with her own scimitar cuts off his head and carries it 
back to Bethulia in triumph. The Assyrian army, when 


it hears of the death of its general, retreats in con- 
fusion and Jerusalem is saved. 

In the shorter version, though the story is practically 
the same, it is put in a different setting. Seleucus takes 
the place of Nebuchadnezzar and Holofernes, and the 
scene is laid at Jerusalem and not at Bethulia. 

Tlie Religious Tone of the Book.— The Book of 
Judith possesses some very marked religious character- 
istics. No one can read it, for instance, without noting 
the stress which is laid on legal observances and 
ceremonial. Judith's piety is described as consisting 
largely (a) in the regularity of her fastings (chap. viii. 6), 
{b) in the scrupulous care with which she avoided un- 
clean meats (chap. x. 5, xii. 2), {c) in her attention to the 
ritual " washings " prescribed by the law (chap. xii. 7-9). 
The same conception is very prominent, too, in the 
significant passage in which Judith declares to Holo- 
fernes that the city will be taken because its inhabitants 
will be forced by famine to offend God by eating unclean 
food (chap. xi. 11-19). The Temple, too, occupies an 
important position in the book. The main concern of 
the Jews at the prospect of Holofernes' conquests is 
that the Temple will be destroyed (chap. iv. 11-15). 
All these marks point to the fact that the author 
sympathised with the Pharasaic party, though it should 
be noted that there is no reference to angels or a belief 
in the future life. 

J U D I T H— T OBIT 47 

Object of the Book. — It is quite clear that Judith 
is not history. Luther was right when he spoke of 
it as a "poem" or "sacred drama." It was written 
jto encourage the Jews to be faithful to their religion 
nnd their law in the face of heathen attacks. "Judith," 
says Dr. Sayce, " is a type of that portion of the Jewish 
nation who remained true to the Law and its observances, 
and against whom, therefore, weak though they seemed 
to be, the whole might of the Gentile world was unable to 
prevail." The book may be described as a religious 
novel with a purpose — the purpose being to induce men 
to keep the Law under the promise of God's protection. 

The Date. — The date of Judith is a matter of dis- 
pute. There are numerous theories, but the only two 
which claim consideration are: (i) the theory which 
connects it with the Maccabsean age (160-140 B.C.); 
(2) the theory which places it at a date soon after the 
Roman invasion in 63 B.C. We have not sufficient 
evidence to decide absolutely between these two views, 
but the similarity of the religious outlook in Judith 
and the Psalms of Solomon has led many scholars to 
accept the second alternative, and date the book about 
50 B.C. 


The Book of Tobit, though of quite a different type 
from Judith, may be regarded as a companion volume 
because it belongs to the same class of literature. 


The Story of the Book.— Tobit tells the story of 
the misfortunes \Yhich befell two Jewish families, and 
of a happy denouement^ resulting in their union by 
marriage. The plot is of a less heroic and more 
domestic character than in the case of Judith. Tobit, 
a pious Jew, had been carried away captive, together 
with his son Tobias and his wife Anna, by Shalmaneser 
to Nineveh. At Nineveh, though remaining faithful to 
the principles of the Jewish religion, he obtained favour 
at court, and was appointed royal purveyor. After 
the accession of Sennacherib, who succeeded Shalma- 
neser, he fell into disrepute, owing largely to his habit 
of giving burial to his Jewish kinsmen who had been 
killed in the streets of Nineveh. He lost his sight, too, 
through an accident, and became entirely dependent 
upon his wife for support. One day his wife, in a fit 
of temper, taunted him with the uselessness of his alms 
and deeds of piety. In despair he prayed to God that 
he might die. At this point we are introduced by the 
story to the second family, who lived at Ecbatana. 
Sara, the daughter of Raguel, had been married to seven 
husbands, all of whom had been slain by the demon 
Asmodeus on the bridal night. And on the day when 
Tobit was taunted by his wife, Sara was also driven to 
distraction by the reproaches of her maids, and prayed 
for death. The prayers of both w^ere heard, and the 
angel Raphael was sent to deliver them. The help 



came in the following way. Some time previously Tobit 
had deposited ten talents of silver with a Jew at Rages. 
Under the pressure of poverty he now resolved to send 
his son Tobias to secure the money. When Tobias 
sought for a guide to accompany him, the angel Raphael 
offered his services. Terms were arranged, and the 
two set out on the journey. It was necessary for them 
to go through Ecbatana, and they stayed with Raguel, 
who was a kinsman of Tobit. Tobias fell in love with 
Sara, and sought her hand in marriage, undeterred by 
the fate of her previous husbands. By means of a 
magic charm, given to him by the angel, Tobias exor- 
cised the evil spirit, and the wedding festival was cele- 
brated amidst much rejoicing. Having obtained the 
repayment of the loan, Tobias and his wife went to 
Nineveh with Raphael. Tobit is cured of his blindness 
and all ends happily. 

The Religious Teaching of Tobit. — The religious 
purpose of Tobit is very similar to that of Judith. Great 
stress is laid upon legal observances and upon almsgiving. 
This is clearly brought out in the description of Tobit's 
piety. " I went often to Jerusalem at the feasts . . . 
having the first-fruits and tenths of increase . ■ . and 
them gave I at the altar to the priests" (chap. i. 5, 6). 
" All my brethren did eat of the bread of the Gentiles . . . 
but I kept myself from eating (chap. v. 7). "I gave 
many alms to my brethren, and bread to the hungry, 



and clothes to the naked, and if I saw any of my nation 
dead I buried him" (chap. v. i6, 17). The same ideal 
appears in the words of the angel (chap. xi. 4-15): 
"Prayer is good with fasting and alms and righteous- 
ness. ... It is better to give alms than to lay up 
gold, for alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge 
away all sin." The moral of the book appears in Tobit's 
final appeal : " O, ye sinners, turn ye and do righteous- 
ness before him ; w^ho can tell if he will accept you and 
have mercy on you ? " (chap. xiii. 6). There are, how^ever, 
some points which are emphasised in Tobit which have 
nothing corresponding to them in Judith, (i) The belief 
in angels and demons plays a most important part in 
the book. Raphael and Asmodeus are two of the chief 
dramatis personce. (2) The belief in magic is also 
most pronounced. The demon Asmodeus is expelled 
by the smoke produced by burning the heart and liver 
of a fish, according to the instructions of Raphael. 
Tobit's eyes are cured by an application of gall taken 
from the same fish. (3) The necessity for the proper 
burial of the dead is insisted upon. 

Different Versions of the Story. — The story of Tobit 
was so popular that versions of it were issued in Hebrew, 
Aramaic, Syriac, Latin, and Greek. These versions 
vary from each other in many important details. Some 
of them, for instance, omit the reference to the dog 
which accompanied Raphael and Tobias. Some of 


them speak of Tobit in the third person throughout, 
others make Tobit speak in the first person as far as 
chap. iii. 15. Some of them expand the didactic part 
of the book. These variations show that the book as 
we possess it to-day in the ordinary form passed through 
many stages, in each of which it received accretions. 
The allusions to Achiacharus are interesting. They 
represent a separate story — the legend of Ahikar — which 
has been woven in different forms into the Tobit narra- 
tive. Ahikar, according to the legend, was a pious 
courtier of Sennacherib, who, being childless, adopted a 
boy, Nadan, and brought him up as his heir and suc- 
cessor. Nadan, however, turned against Ahikar, and by 
means of forged documents accused him of treason and 
secured his condemnation. The executioner, however, 
spared his life and imprisoned him in a cellar beneath 
his house. Later on he was rescued and restored to 
favour (see Tobit xiv. 10). 

Purpose of the Book. — The writer of Tobit used, 
as his groundwork, a common story, which has its 
counterpart in most mythologies, and adapted it as a 
vehicle for enforcing the moral and religious truths of 
Judaism — especially the duty of obeying the Law, giving 
alms, and burying the dead. Luther described the book 
as " a truly beautiful, wholesome, and profitable fiction.'v 

Date of the Book. — The only data which we have 
for fixing the approximate date of Tobit are: (i) We 


know that it was quoted by Polycarp in a.d. 112. 
(2) In chap. xiv. 5, 6 we read, "God will bring them 
again into the land, where they shall build a temple, but 
not like to the first . . . Afterward the house of God 
shall be built with a glorious building." This passage 
has been taken to mean that Tobit was written before 
the commencement of Herod's Temple, but the deduc- 
tion is not absolutely convincing. (3) The prominence 
given to the burial of the dead may point to the 
Maccabsean age. Antiochus Epiphanes "cast out a 
multitude" unburied. (4) Tobit has many points of 
resemblance with the Book of Ecclesiasticus. These 
indications have led the majority of modern scholars to 
place the book in the second century B.C., probably 
between 150 and 100 B.C. 


The Story of Susanna is one of the three additions 
made by the Apocrypha to the canonical Book of Daniel. 
In the Septuagint it is placed before chap. i. ; in the 
Vulgate it stands as chap. xiii. 

The Narrative. — The story has no connection with 
the Book of Daniel, except that it illustrates the wise 
judgment of the hero of the book. Susanna is the wife 
of Joachim, a wealthy Jew of Babylon. Two Jewish 
elders, ravished by her beauty, form an intrigue against 


her. Foiled in their purpose, they charge her before the 
Council with having committed adultery, and produce 
evidence in support of their accusation. Susanna is 
condemned by the Council. At this point Daniel comes 
into the court and calls for a new trial on the ground 
that the witnesses have committed perjury. He demands 
that the two elders shall be examined separately. A 
discrepancy at once makes itself apparent between the 
stories of the two men. Susanna is acquitted and the 
elders are condemned. 

Tlie Motive of the Story. — Here, again, there can be 
little doubt that we have a common story, which is 
widely circulated in different forms, put into Jewish 
dress and used to enforce a Jewish moral. An ingenious 
theory as to its origin and motive has been suggested by 
an English scholar, C. J. Ball. About the year 100 B.C. 
a miscarriage of justice occurred in Jerusalem, the son 
of Simon, the President of the Council, being condemned 
by the perjury of his accusers. This led the Pharisaic 
party to advocate legal reforms : (a) the more stringent 
examination of witnesses ; (d) the infliction of severer 
penalties on false witnesses. If perjury was discovered, 
the guilty parties were to suffer the same penalty which 
they had attetiipted to inflict on the innocent. The 
Sadducean party opposed, arguing that the penalty ought 
not to be inflicted on the perjurers unless the innocent 
victim had actually suffered it. On this theory, the 


story of Susanna is a tract issued by the Pharisees in 
support of their policy. 


This forms another addition to the Book of Daniel. 
It consists of two independent stories, which have no 
connection with each other except that they are both 
associated with the name of Daniel, and both are 
directed against idolatrous practices. 

The Story of Bel. — The image of Bel was one of the 
chief objects of worship in the city of Babylon. Daniel, 
true to his principles, refused to obey the king's edict 
enjoining the worship of the image. The king expostu- 
lated, and in proof of the deity of the image pointed 
to the amount of food which it consumed. Daniel in 
reply asks the king to arrange for a test. The food is 
prepared and the doors are sealed, and Daniel, sus- 
pecting the trickery of the priests, has the floor lightly 
strew^n with fine ashes. Next morning, though the seals 
are unbroken, the food is gone. Examination, however, 
discloses the marks of naked feet on the floor. The 
priests are convicted and put to death. 

The Story of the Dragon. — There was in Babylon 
a great dragon which was universally worshipped as 
divine. Daniel, however, again refused, and offered to 
kill the beast. Upon obtaining the king's permission, 


he prepared a concoction largely comprised of pitch, 
and threw it to the dragon. As a result the dragon 
burst asunder. The furious populace demanded that 
Daniel should be thrown into the lions' den. He 
remained unharmed, and was finally restored to favour. 

The stories are full of anachronisms and extravagances, 
and evidently are merely folk-lore adapted as a vehicle 
of religious instruction. The motive is sufficiently 
obvious. Like the Epistle of Jeremy, they are an 
attack on idolatry, and probably belong to the same 
period — the first century B.C. 


Besides the passages inserted in Daniel, already 
mentioned, there are other additions to the canonical 
books which, though they cannot be described as 
legendary, may be conveniently dealt with in this 

Tlie Song of the Three Children, or " The Prayer 
of Azarias," as it is sometimes called, is an addition 
of sixty-eight verses, inserted by the Septuagint after 
Daniel iii. 23. It is divided into three parts: (i) the 
prayer of Azarias (vers, 1-22); (2) a continuation of the 
narrative in Daniel iii. 23, describing how the king's 
servants kept on heating the fiery furnace with naphtha 


and pitch, and how an angel came down and formed 
an inner zone within the furnace which the flames could 
not reach (vers. 23-27); (3) the thanksgiving song of 
the three martyrs (vers. 28-68). It is probable that 
the document is the work of more than one writer. 
Whether it was originally composed in Hebrew or 
Greek is a matter of dispute. 

The Rest of Esther. — This document contains six 
chapters of additional material which was inserted in 
the Book of Esther by the Septuagint. The English 
Apocrypha, following the Vulgate, has collected the 
added parts into a separate whole. In the Septuagint 
they are scattered about in different places of the book. 
Thus — 

Chap. X. 4-xi. I forms the conclusion of the Septua- 
gint Esther. 

Chap. xi. 2-xii. 6 forms its commencement. 

Chap. xiii. 1-7 is placed after iii. 13. 

Chap. xiii. 8-xiv. 19 is placed after iv. 17. 

Chap. XV. is substituted for v. 1-3. 

Chap. xvi. is placed after viii. 12. 

The object of the addition was twofold: (i) partly 
to expand the narrative by the addition of new material, 
(2) partly to give a religious tone to the book. In the 
canonical Book of Esther the name of God never occurs, 
and the religious interest is very slight. In the addi- 
tional parts the religious note is very emphatic. To 


take one instance. Observe the frequent introduction 
of the Divine name in chap. x. 9 : " Israel which cried 
to God and were saved ; for the Lord hath saved his 
people, and the Lord hath delivered us from all those 
evils, and God hath wrought great signs and wonders." 

The Prayer of Manasseh. — The explanation of this 
addition is to be found in the statement in 2 Chron. 
xxxiii, 18, 19 : " Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, 
and his prayer unto his God . . . behold they are 
written in the acts of the kings of Israel. ' His prayer 
also, and how God was intreated of him . . . behold 
they are written in the history of Hozai " (or the seers). 
The prayer of Manasseh, therefore, is an attempt 
to supply an omission on the part of the writer of 
Chronicles. There is no justification for regarding the 
prayer as genuine. Everything points to the fact that it 
was an imaginative composition, and the work of a 
Hellenistic Jew. It is generally found appended to the 
Book of Psalms. 




The Book of Baruch has most affinities with the type 
of prophecy represented by Jeremiah, with which it is 
closely associated in the Septuagint and Vulgate. 

Contents. — The Book of Baruch is not a unity. It 
consists of two, perhaps three, quite distinct documents . 
(i) The preface (chap. i. 1-14). (2) The first part, con- 
taining a confession of sin, and prayer for restoration to 
Divine favour (chaps, i. 15-iii. 8). (3) The second part, 
containing a discourse of encouragement to the Jews of 
the Diaspora (chaps, iii. 9-v. 9). 

The Preface gives what purports to be a historical 
introduction to the book. The scene is laid at Babylon, 
in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem by 
the Chaldccans. Baruch, the author, reads his work to 
Jehoiachin and his court, who at once determine to 
send it to Jerusalem. They also collect money that 
the Jews at Jerusalem may purchase sacrifices to 
offer on behalf of the King of Babylon. The preface 


is highly artificial, and does not fit the contents of either 
of the documents which follow, though some scholars 
think that it may possibly have originally been the in- 
troduction to the second document. 

The First Document appears to contain two distinct 
confessions of sin, and a prayer for restoration : (a) an 
ancient form of confession used by the Palestinian rem- 
nant (chaps, i. 15-ii. 5); (^) the exiles' confession 
(chap. ii. 6-13); (c) the exiles' prayer (chaps, ii. 14- 
iii. 8). The style of the document resembles that of 
Deuteronomy and the prophecy of Jeremiah. 

The Second Document may be divided into two 
parts : (a) A passage in praise of wisdom, identifying 
wisdom with the Law (chaps, iii. 9-iv. 4). This passage 
possesses many characteristics of the descriptions of 
wisdom found in the Wisdom Literature, (d) A dis- 
course containing words of comfort and encouragement 
to the Jews of the Dispersion, resembling in many par- 
ticulars some of the poetical passages in Deuteronomy, 
Isaiah, and Job. Whether these two sections are 
separate entities is a matter of debate amongst scholars. 
It is quite easy to regard them as parts of a single 
document, the first section showing that the calamities 
which have befallen the people are due to the fact that 
they have deserted the fountain of wisdom, the second 
consoling them with promises of future restoration. 

The Date of Baruch. — From what has already been 


said it is clear that we are concerned with at least 
two documents, each of which must be dealt with 
separately. It will be simpler to deal with the second 
document first, because modern opinion is much more 
unanimous with regard to its date than it is in the case 
of the document which forms the first half of the book. 
There is a general agreement amongst recent critics that 
this document cannot be placed earlier than the destruc- 
tion of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. This result seems to be 
decisively established by the fact that the author used 
the Psalms of Solomon (especially Ps. xi.). The Psalms 
of Solomon date from 70-40 B.C., and it was probably 
not till after the commencement of the Christian era 
that a Greek translation of them was published. This 
being so, we are bound to place our document in the 
first century a.d., and there is no historical situation 
suited to its contents, till after the destruction of 

There is much more diversity of opinion with regard 
to the date of the first document. Leaving out of ac- 
count the impossible theory which regards the document 
as belonging to the historical situation described in the 
Preface {i.e. 583 B.C.), the following views find favour in 
different schools of criticism to-day : (i) some scholars, 
following Ewald, place the document in the period 
following the conquest of Jerusalem by Ptolemy L in 
320 B.C. ; (2) others place it in the Maccabaean period, 


160-140 B.C. ; (3) others regard it as belonging to the 
same age as the second documetit^ i.e. the period subse- 
quent to the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. The 
only datum that seems to help us in arriving at a de- 
finite conclusion in the undoubted connection between 
chaps, i. 15-ii. 12, and Daniel ix. 4-19. The fact that 
Baruch seems deliberately to omit three references 
in Daniel to the desolation of Jerusalem which would 
have been particularly appropriate if the book were 
written after a.d. 70, militates against the third theory. 
Those who accept 320 B.C. as the date, have to resort 
to the hypothesis that Baruch and Daniel are embodying 
a common tradition, in order to explain the resemblances 
between the two. On the whole the second view seems 
to present least difficulty, and we may place the docu- 
ment in the period between 150 B.C. and the beginning 
of the Christian era. 

The Religious Outlook of Baruch. — There can be 
little doubt that Baruch was compiled in its present 
form by a devout Jew in the last decades of the first 
century a.d. for the purpose of consoling and comforting 
his people for the loss of their city. It is contempora- 
neous, therefore, with a large part of our New Testament, 
and throws a flood of light upon one type of Jewish 
thought during this important period. We notice in 
reading the book: (i) the writer's firm confidence in 
God and in the divine promises to Israel; (2) his pride 


in his religion — "God hath found out all the way of 
knowledge and given it unto Israel his beloved" 
(chap. iii. 36) ; (3) his anti-Gentile prejudices — " Give not 
thine honour to another, nor the things that are profitable 
unto thee to a strange nation " — a statement which 
helps us to understand the opposition of the Judaisers 
to St. Paul ; (4) his devotion to the Law, which he regards 
as the expression of the wisdom of God, and so of 
eternal value (chap. iv. 1-3); (5) that the writer never 
advances upon the position of the prophets. He lives 
in the spiritual world of Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, and 
Deutero-Isaiah. This is especially noticeable in the 
absence of any allusion to the future life. 


The second book of Esdras (sometimes called 
IV. Ezra) is by common consent one of the most 
important books in the Apocr}'pha. It occupies the 
same place in the Apocrypha as the Book of Revelation 
in the New Testament, and is the only specimen of 
apocalyptic (as distinct from prophetic) literature in it. 
The wide popularity which it enjoyed in ancient times 
is evident from the fact that versions of it are found in 
Latin, Armenian, Syriac, yEthiopic, and Arabic. The 
Hebrew and Greek originals have been lost. The Latin 
text from which the Authorised Version was translated 

1 1. E S D R A S 63 

is imperfect, and lacks an important section, which has 
been torn out between the 35th and 36th verses of 
chap. vii. The missing fragment, however, has been 
recovered by the discovery, made by Professor Bensly in 
1875, of an unmutilated MS. at Amiens. 

Contents. — The version of 11. Esdras in our Apo- 
crypha contains the original book in a Christian frame. 
The first two and the last two chapters are a later 
addition, and were attached to the book to make 
it suitable for use amongst Christians. The original 
book, as we know from the versions, comprised only 
chaps, iii.-xiv. . It is generally divided into seven parts, 
answering to the seven visions which it describes. 
(i) The first vision (<z]\2i^s. iii. i-v. 20). Esdras, perplexed 
by the problem of the sufferings of his own people and 
the prosperity of their enemies, asks God for an ex- 
planation. The angel Uriel is sent to him, and tells him 
that he must not inquire into things which only God 
can understand. (2) The second vision (chaps, v. 14— 
vi. 63). After seven days Esdras, dissatisfied with Uriel's 
words, appeals to God a second time. Uriel reappears, 
and tries to console him by pointing out the weakness 
of man's judgment and the approach of the Day of 
the Lord, when all will be set right. (3) The third 
vision (chaps, vi. 35-ix. 35), contains a further discussion 
between Esdras and Uriel, more particularly on the 
question whether few or many should be saved. Uriel 


replies that the number of the elect is small. The 
main point in the vision is the vivid picture of the 
final judgment and the future state of the righteous and 
the wicked. (4) The fourth vision (chaps, ix. 25-x. 59). 
On the plain of Ardat Esdras meets a mourning woman 
who has just lost her only son. He tries to comfort her 
by referring to the greater desolation of Jerusalem. She 
suddenly vanishes and Esdras beholds a city. Uriel 
returns and tells him that the woman represented 
Jerusalem. (5) The fifth vision (chaps, xi. i-xii. 39). 
Esdras sees in a dream the vision of an eagle with three 
heads, twelve wings, &c., which is destroyed by a lion. 
The eagle, he is told, represents the fourth kingdom 
seen by Daniel, and the lion is the Messiah. (6) The 
sixth vision (chaps, xii. 40-xiii. 58). A further vision of 
the Messiah, who destroys his foes and sets up his 
kingdom on earth. (7) The seventh vision (chap. xiv.). 
Esdras is warned that he is soon to be translated from 
the earth. He pleads for his people, who will be left 
without a teacher. He is told to write, and under the 
influence of the angel dictates ninety-four books — 
twenty-four of which were to be published {i.e. the 
Old Testament), and the remaining seventy hidden for 
the use of the wise {i.e. the Apocryphal writings). 

The Date of II. Esdras. — There is a general agree- 
ment amongst modern scholars that II. Esdras was 
written in the reign of Domitian (a.d. 81-96). 

II. E SDR AS 65 

This conclusion is based upon the following data : 
(i) The book must be later than Daniel (168 B.C.), 
which it mentions, and earlier than Clement of Alex- 
andria (a.d. 200), who is the first Christian writer to 
quote from it. (2) The author himself says that he 
wrote "in the thirtieth year after the ruin of the city" 
(chap. iii. i). There can be little doubt that "the ruin 
of the city" refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 
A.D. 70. (3) This date affords the simplest interpreta- 
tion of the Eagle vision. The eagle represents Rome, 
and the three heads are the three emperors, Vespasian, 
Titus, and Domitian. It should be noted, however, that 
some modern scholars (among them Charles) hold that 
II. Esdras is a composite work, made out of five earlier 
Apocalypses, ranging in date from 20 B.C. to a.d. 100. 
These documents were combined by a redactor about 
A.D. 120. 

The Problem of the Book. — II. Esdras presents a 
striking contrast to Baruch, the bulk of which belongs 
to the same period. The author of Baruch is a man of 
simple faith, whose confidence in God remains unshaken 
by the destruction of the city. He is content with a 
simple explanation of the disaster. It is due to Israel's 
sin, and Israel's repentance will lead to restoration. 
Esdras, however, is not so easily satisfied. The Jews 
were not the only sinners. " Are they of Babylon better 
than they of Sion ? Why has God destroyed His 


people and preserved His enemies?" (chap. iii. 30, 31). 
n. Esdras, therefore, is a problem book, and deals with 
the old enigma, which forms the subject of the Book of 
Job, and which rent the heart of the apostle Paul 
(Rom. ix.-xi.) : " Whj hath God cast off His people ? " 
It cannot be said that the book discovers a real solution 
for the difficulty. It does, however, suggest some lines 
of thought in which comfort can be found. Perhaps its 
greatest contribution is its frank admission that no 
single formula meets the case. We must look in many 
directions for our solution of the problem, (i) We must 
remember our own limitations, and that it is impossible 
for us to understand the inscrutable deaUngs of Provi- 
dence. (2) We must trust in the boundless love of God. 
" Lovest thou the people better than He that made 
them ? " (chap. v. 33). (3) This world is not the end 
of things. The future life will make amends for present 
suffering. (4) The day of God's Redemption is draw- 
ing near, when the Messiah will come and restore the 
kingdom. On the whole, in spite of its pessimistic tone, 
II. Esdras is undoubtedly the finest discussion of the 
problem of evil in the whole range of Jewish literature. 

Value of II. Esdras for Theology. — Apart from the 
main problem of the book, II. Esdras has many points 
of interest for modern theology, (i) It lays great stress 
on the doctrine of original sin. " The first Adam trans- 
gressed and was overcome, and so be all they that are 

II. E SDR AS 67 

born of him" (chap. iii. 21). (2) It has a developed 
doctrine of the future life. All the dead will arise either 
to bliss or woe. The reward of the good, and the 
punishment of the wicked, are sevenfold (chap. vii.). 
(3) It has a firm belief in the advent of a Messiah, who 
will reign for 400 years and establish the kingdom of 
God. (4) A man's future destiny is fixed by this life, 
and cannot be changed after death. Prayers for the 
dead, therefore, are useless. (5) It links together faith 
and works in a way which shows that the discussion on 
the subject in the Epistles of St. Paul and St. James 
was familiar tO' the Jewish schools. (6) It attaches more 
importance to the Apocryphal books than to the Old 

The Christian Framework of the Book. — The date 
of the concluding chapters, xv. and xvi., is placed about 
A.D. 268 by most modern critics. Chap. xv. 10-12 
refers to the troubles of Alexandria under Gallienus 
(a.d. 260-268) ; chap. xv. 28-33 to the conquests of 
the Sassinidse (especially Sapor I., a.d. 240-273); chap. 
XV. 33 describes the murder of Odenathus at Emesa 
(a.d. 266). The date of the opening chapters cannot 
be fixed with such precision, but probably belonged to 
the same period. 



The Epistle of Jeremy is a separate fragment in the 
Greek version of the Apocrypha, but in the Vulgate and 
other Latin MSS. is attached to the Book of Baruch, 
of which it forms the sixth chapter. It purports to be 
a letter written by Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon, 
to warn them against idolatry. This claim, however, 
is quite out of the question for several reasons, (i) The 
Epistle is written in Greek, and shows no signs of having 
been translated from Hebrew. (2) Its style and general 
thought are quite unworthy of Jeremiah. (3) Its state- 
ment that the captivity would last for seven generations 
points to the fact that it is the work of a later writer. 
We have very little evidence to guide us in determining 
its data and origin. Many scholars think that there is 
an allusion to it in 11. Maccabees ii. 2: "Jeremiah 
charged the exiles not ... to be led astray in their 
minds when they saw images of gold and silver." If 
this is so, we may surmise that the fragment originated 
in Alexandria in the first century B.C. It affords us an 
excellent illustration of the temptations to which the 
Jews of the Diaspora were subjected, and so throws light 
upon the attitude of the Apostle Paul to the question 
of " eating meat offered to idols." 



In addition to the Apocrypha proper, there are many 
other Jewish writings, belonging practically to the same 
period, which have never claimed to be regarded as 
Scripture, though they were held in high value by large 
circles of Christians in early times. In all probability, 
if the process, by which the Old Testament was evolved, 
had been continued, they too would eventually have 
obtained a place in the Canon. Two of them, at any 
rate, III. and IV. Maccabees, are actually found in one 
of the most valuable MSS. of the Septuagint. 

The most important books of the wider Apocrypha 
may be classified as follows : — 

I. Historical. — III. and IV. Maccabees. The latter, 
however, as will be explained, though purporting 
to be historical, is really a philosophical discourse. 
, 2. Poetry. — The Psalms of Solomon. 

3. Apocalyptic Literature. — The Book of Enoch ; the 
Book of the Secrets of Enoch ; the Apocalypse 

of Baruch ; the Assumption of Moses ; the 



Book of Jubilees ; the Ascension of Isaiah ; 

the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. 
It will be observed from this list that the Apocalyptic 
writings occupy the largest and most important place 
in the wider Apocrypha. A few words must be said 
with resrard to the character of these books. 


The Meaning of " Apocalyptic." — The word Apoca- 
lyptic is, of course, an adjective formed from the noun 
"Apocalypse," and so means "of the nature of" or 
" belonging to " an Apocalypse. " Apocalypse " itself 
is the Greek equivalent of the better-known Latin form 
" Revelation."' Thus, we speak of the last book in the 
New Testament as " the Revelation " or " the Apoca- 
lypse" of St. John. What the Book of Revelation is 
to the New Testament the Jewish Apocalypses are to 
Apocryphal literature. The Apocalypses claim to give 
a vision of the future. They are a peculiarity, as far as 
their form goes, of Jewish literature. There is nothing 
exactly like them elsewhere. The nearest approach 
is to be found in books like Plato's " Republic " or 
Sir Thomas More's " Utopia," which contain a dream of 
an ideal state. No one, however, who reads " Utopia " 
and the Jewish Apocalypses side by side would think 
of classing them together, because in form and style 
they are utterly dissimilar. 

The Origin of Apocalyptic Literature. — There are 
elements of Apocalyptic in some of the later Jewish 


prophets, notably in Ezekiel. In Daniel, of course, 
the Apocalyptic element is very marked. It may be 
said that Daniel started a new fashion in literature, and 
between his day and a.d. 100, Apocalyptic became the 
popular mode of conveying religious teaching. There 
was, however, a stronger reason for the adoption of the 
new mode than the desire to copy Daniel. " Apoca- 
lyptic" appealed to writers and teachers because it 
seemed to be the most appropriate vehicle for expressing 
the religious aspirations of Israel. Throughout this 
period, from a political point of view, the Jewish nation 
was in an evil plight. The hopes, of which the prophets 
had spoken, had not been realised, and what is more, 
their realisation now seemed quite beyond the range 
of possibility. Palestine had fallen under the sway of 
one foreign power after another. There was a brief 
revival of hope during the Maccabaean age, but it was 
short-lived; and when at last Jerusalem fell into the 
hands of the Romans, a dark despair settled upon the 
people. It was owing to these disappointments, and 
to the failure of the promises which the prophets had 
given to Israel, that the soul of the nation found a new 
outlet for its faith in the vision of a millennial future, 
an era of blessedness after the judgment-day. The new 
faith found its expression in Apocalyptic literature. It 
must not be thought, however, that the Apocalyptic 
writings deal solely or mainly with the Millennium ; many 


of them are contented with making an attempt to find 
a solution for the problem, which continually confronted 
them, of the sufferings of Israel. A new philosophy of 
religion was needed, and in one way or another all 
the Apocalyptic books are more or less engaged in the 
effort to discover it. We find, therefore, important 
discussions on such questions as the origin of sin, the 
explanation of evil, the future destiny, &c. 

Importance of Apocalyptic Literature. — In certain 
circles of the Jews, Apocalyptic was regarded as of even 
higher value than the Old Testament itself. This is 
clear from the famous passage in II. Esdras (chap. xiv. 
42-48). " The Highest gave understanding to five men, 
and they wrote the wonderful visions of the night. . . . 
In forty days they wrote ninety-four [some texts read 
204] books, and it came to pass, when the forty days 
were fulfilled, that the Highest spake saying : The first 
that thou hast written [a reference to the Old Testament] 
publish openly, that the worthy and the unworthy may 
read it. But keep the seventy last [i.e. the Apocryphal 
books], that thou mayest deliver them only to such as 
be wise among the people. Ju?r in the?n is the sprifig of 
tifidej'standing, the fountain of wisdom^ and the stream 
of knowledge. ^^ The modern value of the literature 
cannot be better stated than in the words of Dr. Charles. 
" No attempt to study Christianity in its origins can 
dispense with a knowledge of this literature. If we wish 


to reconstruct the world of ideas and aspirations which 
filled the heart of an earnest Jew at the beginning of 
the Christian era, it is to this literature that we must 
have recourse for our materials. Although in its higher 
aspects Christianity infinitely transcends the Judaism 
that preceded it, yet in others it is a genuine historical 
development from such Judaism. Christianity came 
forth from the bosom of Pharisaic Judaism, and in 
Apocalyptic literature this form of Judaism found its 
essential utterance. . . . Thus Jewish Apocalypses not 
only supply a history of religious beliefs in the two 
pre-Christian cisnturies, but they also fill up the other- 
wise unavoidable gap in the history of Jewish thought, 
and constitute the living link between the prophetic 
teachings and ideals of the Old Testament and their 
fulfilment in Christianity." 




The Apocalypse which is known as the Book of Enoch 
is not a single book, but a library containing at least 
five volumes, written by different authors at different 
periods in the last two centuries of the pre-Christian 
era. It is not difficult to see"~why it was that a whole 
literature grew up around the name of Enoch. The 
well-known statement in Gen. v. 24, " Enoch walked with 
God," suggested that the favour of Divine intercourse 
was bestowed upon Enoch in an unusual degree, and 
his name, therefore, naturally occurred to Apocalyptic 
writers as a fitting medium for the conveyance of their 
ideas. The importance of this Enoch literature can 
scarcely be over-estimated. There is hardly a book in 
the New Testament which does not show some traces of 
its influence, and the Epistle of Barnabas quotes it as 

The Contents of the Book. — The Book of Enoch 
has been divided by Dr. Charles, who is our chief 


authority on Apocalyptic literature, into five parts. 
(i) The first book, comprising chaps. 1-36, was written 
some time before 170 B.C. Like most Apocalyptic 
writings, this book deals with the problem of evil. 
The distinguishing features of its teaching are : {a) Its 
explanation of the origin of evil. Sin is represented as 
coming into the world, not through the fall of Adam, 
but through the lust of the angels for the daughters of 
men (Gen. vi. 1-8). {b) Its demonology. The present 
evil in the world is largely due to the influence of the 
evil spirits which went forth from the seed of the fallen 
angels and the ■ daughters of men. {c) The material '\ 
character of the future Messianic age. The Millennium / 
is described as a time" of sensuous enjoyment. (2) The 
second book, from a chronological point of view, consists 
of chaps. 83-90. The date is fixed by certain allusions 
to the Maccabaean rising which make it clear that the 
book belongs to the reign of Judas (166-161 b.c). The 
explanation of evil given in this section is interesting 
and original. God had entrusted Israel to the charge 
of seventy shepherds (angels). These shepherds had 
proved faithless to their trust, and destroyed those whom 
they ought to have protected. God will, however, 
require vengeance, and then Israel will be restored. A 
righteous league will be established in Israel, and in it ^ 
will arise a family from which the deliverer of Israel 
(Judas Maccabaeus) will come forth. (3) The third book 


is made up of chaps. 91-104, and belongs to the last 
quarter of the first century, between 134 and 95 B.C. Its 
author is clearly a member of the Pharisaic party, and 
the book may be said to represent the views of the 
Pharisees of the period. He finds the solution of the 
problem of evil, not in the establishment of a Messianic 
kingdom on earth, nor in the advent of a great deliverer, 
but in the future life. He " calls a new world into 
being to redress the balance of the old." After the 
final judgment the righteous will be raised as spirits and 
enter into the portals of the new heaven, where they will 
become companions of the heavenly hosts and shine as 
the stars for evermore. The wicked, on the other hand, 
are doomed to eternal punishment in the Sheol of fire 
and darkness. (4) The fourth book, known as the 
"Similitudes" (chaps. 37-70), was written either between 
94 and 79 B.C. or between 70 and 64 B.C., and contains a 
denunciation of the later Maccabsean princes and their 
allies, the Sadducees. Its most noticeable features are : 
{a) The origin of sin is traced one stage further back. 
The sinful angels of the first book are represented as 
sinning owing to the evil influence of " the Satans." 
{b) The solution of the problem is found in the advent 
of a Messiah, who will come to judge the earth, inflict 
the direst punishment on sinners, and inaugurate an era 
of righteousness. This is the most remarkable concep- 
tion in the book, and marks the climax of Messianic 


prophecy. (5) The fifth book, or the "Book of Celestial 
Physics" as it is called, consists of chaps. 72-82, though 
the order of the chapters has been disarranged by the 
compiler — chap. 79, which contains the conclusion of 
the book, being put in the wrong place. Its contents 
are quite unlike anything which is found in the other 
sections. It is an attempt to establish an essentially 
Hebrew calendar in preference to the heathen calendars 
which were then in vogue. 

The Influence of the Book of Enoch on New Testa- 
ment Theology. — There can be little doubt that New 
Testament theology owes a very considerable debt to 
the Book of Enoch. This is particularly apparent when 
we compare its Messianic conceptions with the New 
Testament interpretation of Christ. The Book of Enoch 
provided a large number of the categories which were 
used for explaining the person of Christ, ia) In the 
Book of Enoch the term " Christ," is applied for the 
first time in Jewish literature to the coming Messianic 
king, {b) The title " the Son of Man " makes its first 
appearance in Enoch, and passes from Enoch into the 
New Testament, {c) Two other titles which are used 
in Enoch of the Messiah, viz. " the Bighteous One " and 
" the3).ect . One," are used of Christ in the New Testa- 
ment {cf. Acts iii. 14, vii. 52). {d) One of the main 
functions of the Messiah in Enoch was that of jn^gment,^- 
and this conception is almost verbally reproduced in 


John V. 22. ie) The Messiah is depicted as "pre-exist- 
ing " and as "sitting on the throne of His glory" — two 
ideas which are also familiar to readers of the New 


The Book of the Secrets of Enoch is a recent dis- 
covery, for which we are indebted to the energy and 
acumen of Dr. Charles. In 1892 a statement was made 
by a student of Russian Pseudepigraphic literature, 
named Kozak, that a version of the Book of Enoch 
existed in Slavonic. As the Book of Enoch had 
hitherto only been known in the ^thiopic version, 
Dr. Charles at once caused an investigation to be 
made. The examination which was instituted resulted 
in the discovery that the Slavonic Enoch differed m toto 
from the ^thiopic edition, and represented an entirely 
new work. In 1896 Dr. Charles published a translation 
of the book, with introduction and commentary. 

Date and Authorship. — There are various indications 
that the Slavonic Enoch was originally written in Greek, 
probably at Alexandria. The author was an orthodox 
Hellenistic Jew, who, however, was broad-minded 
enough to appreciate and assimilate many elements in 
current Greek and Egyptian thought. The date may be 
fixed approximately by the following considerations : 
The fact that the book makes use of the ^thiopic 


Enoch in its present form proves that it could not 
have been written earUer than the commencement of 
the Christian era. The absence of any reference to 
the destruction of Jerusalem, and the implication that 
the Temple was still standing, clearly show that the 
book must have been published before the destruction 
of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. "We may therefore," as Dr. 
Charles says, " with reasonable certainty, assign the 
composition of our text to the period a.d. 1-50." 

Contents of the Book. — The book describes the 
as cension of ^ noch, and his voyage, .through the seven 
heavens. In the first heaven Enoch sees a great sea, 
the rulers of the stars, the treasuries of the snow, the 
clouds, and the dew, and their guardian angels. In the 
second he sees the fallen angels and the prisoners await- 
ing eternal judgment. The third heaven is the place 
of Paradise, which is prepared as an eternal inheritance 
for those " who turn their eyes from unrighteousness 
and accomplish a righteous judgment, and give bread to 
the hungry, clothe the naked, raise the fallen." On the 
western side of this heaven is " a very terrible place of 
savage darkness and impenetrable gloom," which is 
reserved as an eternal inheritance for those " who com- 
mit evil deeds upon the earth." In the fourth heaven 
Enoch is shown the courses of the sun and the moon 
and "an armed host of angels serving the Lord with 
cymbals." The fifth heaven is the prison-house of the. 


angels who had rebelled and committed sin with the 
daughters of men. The sixth heaven is the abode of 
the angels who regulate the powers of nature and record 
the deeds of men. Finally, in the severith heaven, 
Enoch sees God sitting on His throne surrounded by 
the heavenly hosts. The remainder of the book is 
occupied with a description of the creation of the 
■world and a prophecy of the Millennium. 

The Religious Value of the Book. — The Slavonic 
Enoch is valuable because it helps to explain the origin 
of several conceptions which played an important part 
in later Christian theology. 

(i) The idea of the Millennium is first found in this 
book. The conception is derived from the story of 
the creation. God created the world in six days and 
rested on the seventh. One day is to God as a 
thousand years. The world will last, therefore, for six 
thousand years, and then will come a Millennium of 
one thousand years. 

(2) The book helps to explain many allusions to the 
heavens in the New Testament, especially in the Epistles 
of St. Paul. When Paul speaks, for instance, of being 
oaught up to " the third heaven " (II. Cor. xii. 2), it is 
quite clear that he is familiar with the conception of 
the heavens in the Secrets of Enoch. The agreement 
seems to extend even to details, for both Paul and the 
author of Enoch locate Paradise in " the third heaven." 


Paul's description of Satan as " the prince of the power 
of the air" (Eph. ii. 2) is unintelligible without the 
explanation of Enoch that Satan was driven out of 
the heavens and given the air as his domain. In the 
same way such statements as Col. i. 20, " to reconcile 
all things unto Himself, whether things upon earth or 
things in the heavens," and Eph. iv. 10, " He ascended 
far above all the heavens," can only be explained by 
supposing that Paul accepted the scheme of heavens 
described by the author of the Slavonic Enoch. 


The Apocalypse of Baruch is also a comparatively 
recent discovery. We owe it to an Italian scholar, 
named Ceriani, who found a Syriac version of the book 
in the Milan Library and published a Latin translation 
of it in 1866. The Syriac version was translated from 
the Greek, which in its turn was derived from a Hebrew 
original, so that we only know the real Apocalypse at 
third hand. 

Contents of the Book. — The name Baruch is of 
course assumed by the author or editor of the book, 
in accordance with the customary usage of Apocalyptic 
writers, who always father their productions upon some 
well-known figure in the history of Israel. The scene 
is laid in Jerusalem, during the period preceding and 


following the capture of the city by the Chaldaeans. 
The writer makes a careless blunder in connection with 
his fictitious background. He dates the book in the 
"twenty-fifth year of Jeconiah," who, however, only 
reigned three months, and was carried captive to Babylon 
eleven years before the fall of Jerusalem. The truth 
is that the author of the Apocalypse is really dealing 
with the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, and, instead 
of using contemporary figures and names, clothes the 
story in all the imagery of ancient history. The book 
divides itself into seven sections. In the first the fall 
of Jerusalem is announced, but Baruch is comforted by 
the promise that the overthrow of Israel will only be 
"for a season." In the second the destruction of the 
city is described. The overthrow is depicted as the 
work of angels and not of the Chaldaeans. The third 
section contains Baruch's complaint to God, and raises 
the old problem — which is the theme of the second Book 
of Esdras — as to the explanation of evil. The fou?'th 
contains the promise that the future world is made in 
the interests of the righteous, and states " that the 
blessings of life are to be reckoned not by its length 
but by its quality and its end." In the fifth Baruch 
complains of the delay in the advent of the kingdom, 
and receives the explanation that the predestined number 
of men must be made up before the day of the Lord 
can come. As soon as the number is complete, the 


Messiah will appear. The sixth gives the vision of the 
cedar and tlie vine, which symbolise the Roman Empire 
and the triumph of the Messiah. When Baruch asks 
who will share in the future glory, the answer is given, 
"Those who believe." In the last section the future 
course of history is described in the form of the vision 
of a cloud which discharged " black waters and clear." 
The six " black waters " denote six evil periods in the 
world's history, and the " six clear waters " a correspond- 
ing number of good periods. It is in this section that 
the writer's doctrine of the resurrection of the body is 

The Date of the Book. — The Apocalypse of Baruch is 
not a unity but a compilation of several documents. 
This is proved by the diversity of tone and outlook which 
we find in different parts of the book. Some sections, as 
Dr. Charles says, "agree in presenting an optimistic view 
of Israel's future on earth and in inculcating the hope of 
a Messianic kingdom," whereas in others " such expec- 
tations are absolutely abandoned, and the hopes of the 
righteous are directed to the immediate advent of the 
final judgment and the spiritual world alone." Dr. 
Charles thinks that the various documents, out of which 
the Apocalypse was compiled, were written at different 
points in the period which preceded and followed the 
destruction of Jerusalem, i.e. between a.d. 50 and 100, 
and that the Apocalypse in its present form was com- 


posed a little later, certainly before a.d. 130. All the 
authors were Pharisees, "full of confidence in the future 
glories of their nation, either in this world or the next." 
The Theological Value of the Book. — The Apocalypse 
of Baruch is of exceptional interest to us because it 
affords us a clear illustration of Jewish thought in the 
last half of the first century of the Christian era, and 
shows us the sort of literature which the Apostle Paul 
would probably have produced if he had not become a 
Christian. The measure of the difference between the 
Apocalypse of Baruch and the Epistles of Paul is the 
measure of the influence of the Christian religion. The 
book enables us to see, too, what exactly Pauline 
theology owes to Judaism, and how Paul has purified 
and christianised the Jewish elements which he in- 
corporated into his new philosophy of religion. Among 
the more interesting points connected with the theology 
of the book — (i) The doctrine of the resurrection 
of the body is emphatically affirmed. In answer to 
the question, " In what shape will those live who live 
in thy day ? " the statement is made, " The earth will 
assuredly restore the dead . . . making no change 
in their form, but as it has received, so will it restore 
them ... to show to the living that the dead have 
come to life again." After recognition, however, the 
form of the body will be changed. "They shall be 
made like unto angels, and changed into every form they 


desire, from beauty into loveliness and from light into the 
splendour of glory " (chaps, xlix.-li.). (2) In its doctrine 
of free will and sin, the Apocalypse represents the more 
liberal form of Jewish theology. It denies altogether the 
theory of original sin and maintains, that " every man is 
the Adam of his own soul." The only effect upon 
mankind of Adam's sin was the introduction of physical 
death into the world. (3) The Apocalypse strongly 
maintains the view that " salvation is of works." The 
righteous are saved by their works, and their works avail 
not only for themselves, they are a defence also to the 
unrighteous among whom they dwell, and even after 
death are regarded as a lasting merit, on the ground of 
which God \vill forgive His people. 


This Apocalypse was also, like Baruch, discovered by 
Ceriani in the library of Milan in 1861. It exists only 
in a single Latin fragment, which is incomplete. The 
Latin version contains evidence which proves that it was 
made from a Greek original, which came itself from a 
Hebrew autograph. 

Contents of the Assumption. — The book puts into 
the mouth of Moses, who is on the point of death, a 
summary of the future history of Israel in the form of 
prophecy. The story, which is told with great brevity, 


begins with the work of Joshua and ends with the rule 
of the sons of Herod the Great. At this point the 
writer turns to the future, and the second half of the book 
gives us his religious and political outlook. The writer 
thinks that troublous times are in store for Israel. 
Tyrannical and impious rulers will arise. The Jews will 
be persecuted for their faith by "the king of the kings 
of the earth," who, like Antiochus Epiphanes, will make 
circumcision a penal offence. A second Eleazar will 
arise who, like the famous martyr of the Maccabsean age, 
will take his sons into the wilderness and suffer martyr- 
dom rather than transgress the Law. Then the kingdom 
of the Lord will appear on earth, and God Himself \\ill 
redeem His people and punish its Gentile oppressors. 

Religious Teaching of the Book. — The chief interest 
of the Assumption of Moses lies in its general point of 
view rather than in its opinions on the details of Jewish 
theology. It raises the important question — What 
ought to be the attitude of a religious Jew towards his 
persecutors ? The Zealots answered the question by 
proclaiming the doctrine of resistance. Force must be 
met by force and violence by violence. "We must 
emulate the example," they said, " of Judas Maccabeus, 
who raised an armed force and defeated the oppressors." 
The Assumption of Moses is a protest against this view. 
It preaches the doctrine of non-resistance, or rather of 
passive resistance. We must not take up arms, it 


argues, but quietly suffer for our religion. The ideal 
attitude is not that of Judas Maccabseus, but rather that 
of Eleazar, the great martyr of the Maccabaean age. It 
is martyrdom and not violence that will usher in the 
Messianic age. The Assumption may thus be termed 
the manifesto of Jewish Quietism. 

Date. — The date of the book may be fixed within 
narrow limits. It takes us up to the death of Herod 
the Great in 3 B.C., and it was evidently written before 
the destruction of Jerusalem, because the Temple is 
still standing. But we can reduce these limits still 
further. The writer speaks of Herod's sons in a way 
which implies that the book was written before the end 
of their reign. We may place the Assumption, there- 
fore, between a.d. i and 30. This fact adds greatly to 
the interest of the book, since it must have been written 
during the actual lifetime of Jesus. 

Value of the Book for the Study of the New Testa- 
ment. — The Assumption throws light on many passages 
in the New Testament, (i) There are several phrases 
in the Epistle of Jude, and in Stephen's speech as re- 
corded in Acts, vii., which can only be understood when 
compared with the statements of this book. (2) The 
writer's vivid description of the ruling classes in Palestine 
(the Sadducees) proves that others, besides Jesus, felt 
acutely the degradation into which the government of 
the day had fallen. He speaks of the rulers as " scorn- 


ful and impious men, treacherous self-pleasers, dis- 
semblers, lovers of banquets, gluttons, gourmands, 
devourers of the poor . . . filled with lawlessness and 
iniquity from sunrise to sunset "—language which more 
than corroborates the picture which is drawn of these 
same men in the Gospel narratives. 




The Book of Jubilees was first published in modern 

times in the form of a German translation from the 

-Ethiopia version by Dillmann in 185 1. A Latin version 

was also discovered by Ceriani in the Milan Library a 

little later, and printed for the first time in 1861. 

Character of the Book. — The Book of Jubilees is 

also known as "the little Genesis." This second title 

indicates the character of its contents. It is a revised 

version of the earUer history of Israel, from the creation 

of the world down to the institution of the Passover 

(Exodus xii.). It contains the narrative of the Book 

of Genesis, re- written from the point of view of later 

Judaism. Just as the author of Chronicles modified 

the historical narrative of the Books of Kings to suit his 

own religious ideas, so the writer of Jubilees wrote over 

again the story of the patriarchal age, and brought it 

into harmony with his own conceptions of what ought 

to have happened during that period. The title "Httle 



Genesis " is given to the book, not because it is an 
abbreviation of our canonical Genesis (for, as a matter 
of fact, it is of greater length), but to show that it is of 
inferior and secondary authority. The chief modifica- 
tions which the writer introduces into the Biblical 
narrative are as follows: (i) The story is put into the 
mouth of "the angel of the face," who is represented as 
telUng Moses on Mount Sinai the part which the angels 
had played in the creation of the world and the history 
of the patriarchal age. (2) The writer evinces a par- 
ticular interest in chronology. He divides the period 
into jubilees (hence the title of the book) and dates 
each event in relation to the particular jubilee under 
which it fell. (3) The writer omits many stories which 
apparently offended the religious sense of his day. One 
or two examples may be given by way of illustration. 
The story of the offering of Isaac (Gen. xxii.), for in- 
stance, seems to have presented as much difficulty to 
the author of Jubilees as it does to the modern reader, 
and he boldly solves the problem by stating that Abra- 
ham was tempted, not by Jehovah, but by an evil spirit 
named Mastema. Many incidents which appear to 
reflect upon the character of the patriarchs are cut out 
altogether, e.g. Abraham's deception of the Egyptians 
(Gen. xii. 11-14), Jacob's attempt to outwit Laban 
(Gen. XXX., xxxi.), Jacob's fear of Esau (Gen. xxxii., 
xxxiii.). The whole of chap. xlix. is suppressed because 


of its severity on Levi and the pre-eminence which it 
assigns to Judah. (4) Many additions are also made 
to the narrative. The names of the wives of all the 
patriarchs are given, and the writer even knows the 
name of the wife of Cain. The story of Abraham is 
expanded, and many legends are added in connection 
with his early life. Particular prominence is assigned 
to Levi. (5) Great stress is laid on the Hebrew feasts, 
all of which are supposed to have been instituted in 
patriarchal times. The Feast of Tabernacles, for in- 
stance, owes its origin to Abraham. (6) The utmost 
emphasis is laid on the Jewish Law, and the writer of 
Jubilees traces the origin of its various enactments back 
to the age of the Patriarchs. 

Date of the Book. — Dr. Charles gives a series of 
strong arguments to prove that the Book of Jubilees 
falls within the period 135-96 B.C. The main grounds 
upon which he arrives at this result are as follows. The 
book was evidently written by a member of the Pharisaic 
party who was in strong sympathy with the Maccabaean 
movement. In the year 96 B.C. a serious rupture 
occurred between the Pharisees and Alexander Jannseus, 
tlie representative of the Maccabsean family at the time. 
After this date it is unlikely that a Pharisaic writer would 
have shown the same attitude towards the Maccabseans 
which we find in the Book of Jubilees. The detailed 
allusions of the Apocalypse also seem to imply a 


Maccabaean background. The insistence which is laid 
upon circumcision and the keeping of the Sabbath, the 
pre-eminence which is assigned to Levi over Judah, the 
references to Edom, find their simplest explanation in the 
events connected with this period of Jewish history. The 
Book of Jubilees was used, too, by the author of ^thiopic 
Enoch (chaps. 91-104), and as the year 95 b.c. is given 
as the latest possible date for this section of Enoch, it 
follows that our Apocalypse must have been composed 
some years earlier. We may say, therefore, that Jubilees 
belongs to 1 35-1 15 b.c. 

It should be stated, however, that there is another 
view which has found many supporters amongst the 
specialists who have made this book their particular 
study. This alternative theory maintains that the Book 
of Jubilees was written during the period which immedi- 
ately preceded the destruction of Jerusalem, i.e. between 
A.D. 30 and 60, and was intended largely as a Pharisaic 
manifesto against the teaching of the Apostles. 

Purpose and Aim of the Book. — There is no doubt, 
whatever the date of Jubilees may be, that its main 
purpose was to utter a protest against an attempt which 
was being made to weaken the force of the Jewish code. 
If we agree with Charles in placing the book at the 
close of the second century B.C., we shall see in it an 
effort to resist the Hellenic spirit which was creeping 
over Judaism at the time, and trying to rob it of the 


distinctive features of its legal system. If we accept the 
theory which places the book in the Apostolic age, we 
shall look upon it as a kind of counterblast to the 
arguments used by St. Paul and the other Apostles in 
their attack upon Judaism. It must be admitted that 
there is a good deal in Jubilees which seems to fit 
excellently into this latter hypothesis. One of St. Paul's 
favourite arguments in replying to the Judaisers was this : 
" You insist upon the Law of Moses, but you must re- 
member that the Law is not eternal : it is only an inter- 
lude in the history of Israel's religious development. 
We must go back behind Moses to our forefather 
Abraham, and when we do that we find that the great 
principle of Abraham's religion was not law but faith." 
Paul's appeal from Moses to Abraham was practically 
unanswerable. The only possible reply was to do 
exactly what the author of Jubilees has done — i.e. assert 
that the Law itself did not originate with Moses, as the 
ordinary narrative of the Old Testament implies, but 
goes back to the patriarchal age, and is as ancient as 
the human race itself. 

The Value of the Book. — The Book of Jubilees con- 
tains many points which are full of interest to modern 
readers, (i) It illustrates, for instance, in a very striking 
manner the freedom with which Jewish writers dealt with 
the Old Testament narrative. The author of Jubilees 
did not feel the slightest hesitation in altering the story 


of Genesis in order to substantiate his own particular 
theological views. The historical sense is altogether 
subordinated to religious interests. (2) The manner in 
which the author attempts to prove the eternity of the 
Jewish Law is also most instructive. He is not content 
with antedating the enactments of the Mosaic code, but 
he even argues that the Law is kept in heaven. Angels 
were created circumcised, and are subject to the law of 
the Sabbath. (3) Another interesting feature of the 
book is its developed angelology. The author divides 
angels into three classes or grades : {a) the angels of 
the face, {b) the angels of sanctification, {c) the angels 
who superintend the work of nature. (4) Equally im- 
portant is the author's belief in demons. They origi- 
nated from the giants who were the offspring of the 
" wicked angels " and " the daughters of men." They are 
under the rule of an evil spirit named Mastema, and 
they are the source of all sin and evil in the world. 


This Apocalypse has been preserved in its entirety 
only in an ^thiopic version, though fragments are found 
both in Latin and Greek. It differs from any of the 
Apocalypses, which we have hitherto dealt with, in con- 
taining a large admixture of Christian elements. 

Contents of the Book. — The Ascension of Isaiah 


may be divided into two main sections. The first half 
of the book (with the exception of one very important 
interpolation) is Jewish, and gives an account of the 
martyrdom of Isaiah. The second half is mainly Chris- 
tian, and describes Isaiah's vision of the advent of the 
Messiah, (a) The 7nartyrdo7n (chaps, i.-iii. 13; v. 2-14). 
The story is as follows. At the end of his reign King 
Hezekiah summons his son Manasseh to receive his last 
instructions, and to hear an account of the revelations 
which had come to him during his sickness. The 
prophet Isaiah tells Hezekiah of the fate which he 
foresees will befall him when Manasseh becomes king. 
Upon the death of Hezekiah, Manasseh abandons the 
service of Jehovah. Isaiah and the prophets flee into 
the wilderness for refuge. A false prophet, named 
Balkira, discovers his retreat, and tells Manasseh. 
Manasseh at once sends his emissaries to seize the 
prophet. [At this point comes the interpolated section, 
which will be discussed separately.] Isaiah refuses to 
recant, and is " sawn asunder with a wooden saw." 
{b) The interpolated section (chaps, iii. 13-v. i) is really 
an independent Apocalypse, though an attempt is made 
to connect it artificially with the remainder of the 
narrative. One of the grounds for Belial's enmity to 
Isaiah, was his prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. 
In this section, the Christian interpolater relates how 
the prophecy will be fulfilled ; how the twelve Apostles 


will preach the Gospel after the death of Christ and win 
many converts : how evil will creep into the Church, 
and how Belial will incarnate himself in the form of 
an impious king : and how, finally, he will be overthrown 
and Christ will return to the earth and establish His 
kingdom, (c) T/ie vision of Isaza/i (chsLips. \i.-xi.). This 
part of the book, which presents some points of resem- 
blance with the Slavonic Enoch, describes the journey of 
Isaiah through the seven heavens. Each of the heavens 
is depicted at length. The series represents an ascending 
scale of glory, which reaches its climax in the seventh, 
where Isaiah beholds the Lord of Glory, and " a second 
most glorious one like unto Him," and " the angel of the 
Holy Spirit, the inspirer of the prophets." Then the 
voice of the Most High is heard speaking to His Son, 
bidding Him descend through the heavens to the world. 
"The Beloved" (this is the title commonly bestowed 
on the Messiah in this book) carries out His Father's 
bidding, passes through all the heavens unrecognised, 
and enters into this world through a Virgin Birth. His 
life, death, and resurrection are briefly described, and 
then the prophet beholds His ascension through the 
heavens, in all of which He is now recognised, until at 
last He reaches the seventh heaven, and takes His seat 
on the right hand of the " Great Glory." 

Date of the Book. — The Ascension of Isaiah in its 
present form is, as we have seen, a compilation of three 


different documents, two of which contain large Christian 
elements. This final stage in the composition of the 
work cannot have been reached till the second century 
A.D., and possibly may even have to be placed at the 
commencement of the third century. The documents 
themselves, however, go back to earlier times. The 
Martyrdo7n probably belongs to the first half of the 
first century, a.d. 1-50. This conclusion is based on 
two grounds. {a) There seems to be an allusion 
to it in Hebrews xi. 37. {b) It is scarcely probable 
that Jewish books would obtain recognition in the 
Christian Church after the destruction of Jerusalem. 
The other two documents, according to Charles, origi- 
nated a little later, and belong to the last decades of 
the century, a.d. 80-100, at least in their simplest form. 
Harnack, however, adopts a much later date for the 
documents. He thinks that the interpolated section 
belongs to the second century a.d. and the Visio7i to 
the third. 

Value of the Book. — The chief points of interest in 
the book for the modern student occur in the Christian 
sections. The first of these {i.e. the interpolated section) 
gives a graphic picture of the condition of the Church 
about A.D. 80. " In those days," says the writer, " many 
will love office though devoid of wisdom. There will be 
many lawless elders, and shepherds dealing wrongly by 
the sheep. . . . There will be much slander and vain- 



glory in those days. . . . And there will not be many 
prophets, nor those who speak trustworthy words, save 
one here and there. . . . There will be great hatred 
in the shepherds and elders towards each other." This 
description is borne out by similar statements which we 
find in I. Peter and the Epistle of Clement of Rome. 
Other valuable features in these sections are: (i) The 
description of the seven heavens. It should be noted 
that there are some important points on which the 
account of the heavens in the Ascension differs from 
that given by the Slavonic Enoch, {a) In Enoch some 
of the heavens are tenanted by evil angels : in the 
Ascension the evil angels are located on the firmament. 
(d) Enoch places certain physical elements in the lower 
heavens, e.g. the treasuries of the ice and snow. In 
the Ascension the heavens are purely spiritual worlds. 
(2) The Messiah is almost uniformly described as "the 
Beloved," a title which is often found in the New 
Testament (cf. Mark i. 11, Eph. i. 9). (3) There 
is a clear reference to the Christian doctrine of the 
Trinity in the Vision section. Father, Son, and 
Holy Spirit are linked together and receive adoration 
and worship, though the two latter are placed in a 
subordinate position, and in their -turn do homage to 
the Father. The Holy Spirit is described as an angel 
("the angel of the Spirit" or "the angel of the Holy 
Spirit "), and twice is identified with Gabriel. (4) The 


doctrine of the Virgin Birth is also plainly taught, and 
in a manner which marks a clear advance upon the 
statements in Matthew and Luke. (5) There is a 
marked trace in the book of Doketism — the theory that 
denied the real humanity of Christ, and held that He 
possessed merely a phantom body. (6) The book is 
valuable, too, because it enables us to trace the develop- 
ment of the belief in the appearance of Antichrist, and 
so throws light upon Paul's prophecy of the coming of 
" the man of sin " in II. Thessalonians, and similar state- 
ments in the Book of Revelation. (7) The doctrine of 
the future life is in complete agreement with the later 
views of St. Paul. The righteous after death will re- 
ceive "garments," in which they will be clothed, and 
then they will ascend with Christ into heaven. 


The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is one of the 
most interesting of the documents which belong to this 
class of Jewish literature. It consists of twelve small 
pamphlets, which purport to contain the last utterances 
of the twelve sons of Jacob. Each of these men is 
represented as calling his children around him on his 
deathbed and giving them words of counsel and advice 
with regard to the conduct of life. In most cases the 


Patriarch recalls some of the leading incidents of his 
own career, and uses them as a text from which he draws 
lessons of warning or exhortation for his children. The 
Testament of Gad may be taken as an illustration of 
the method of the writer. Gad tells the story of his own 
enmity against Joseph. Joseph, according to the nar- 
rative, had carried to his father a tale that his brothers 
were killing the best of his flock and making a feast. 
This angered Gad, and made him often wish to kill 
Joseph. His plans, however, were frustrated by the action 
of Judah, who sold Joseph to the IshmaeHtes. Upon this 
incident the writer bases his sermon against malice and 
hatred, which forms the theme of the book. " Beware, 
therefore, my children, of hatred, for it worketh lawless- 
ness even against the Lord Himself. . . . Love ye each 
one his brother and put away hatred from your hearts." 
The Character of the Book. — There has been a great 
deal of discussion among modern scholars as to the 
character of the book. Until quite recently the prevail- 
ing opinion seems to have regarded the Testaments as 
the work of a Christian, and to have given it a place in 
early Christian literature. The monographs of Schnapp 
and Charles have, however, completely reversed this 
verdict. There are, of course, undoubted Christian 
elements in the book, and the problem that faces the 
modern scholar is, How are these Christian elements to 
be accounted for ? The older view maintained that 


they represented the views of the original author. 
Schnapp and Charles, on the contrary, argue that they 
are later interpolations. The case for the latter view 
seems to have been substantiated by the following con- 
siderations : (a) Many of these interpolations are not 
found in the Armenian version. This fact proves that 
the process of interpolation was gradual, and that when 
the Armenian version was made, it was still incomplete. 
(^) Even the Greek MSS. differ among themselves with 
regard to the amount of the interpolations. Passages 
found in one are absent from another MS. (c) The 
interpolations are not homogeneous, and do not re- 
present a uniform theology. The older view was com- 
pletely at a loss when it attempted to define the 
theological position of the author of the document. 
Nitzsch, for instance, described him as a Jewish Christian 
of Alexandria who had imbibed certain current Essene 
beliefs. Ritschl regarded him as a Gentile Christian, 
while Kayser defined him as an Ebionite. The only 
theory that satisfactorily explains the facts is the view 
of Charles, that the Christian elements were interpolated 
at different times by different hands. 

The Date of the Book. — The Testaments consist of 
three different strata: (a) the original groundwork, 
which contains about eleven- twelfths of the whole work ; 
(l>) certain Jewish interpolations ; (c) the Christian ad- 
ditions. The date of the original groundwork is placed by 


Charles between 109 and 107 b.c. The arguments upon 
which this conclusion is based are : (i) Certain refer- 
ences in the book imply that the Jewish nation was ruled 
by one who combined in his own person the offices of 
prophet, priest, and king. These three functions were 
only united in a single person, viz. John Hyrcanus (137- 
105 B.C.). (2) There are various indications — e.g. the 
allusion to the destruction of Samaria — which suggest 
that the book belonged to the end of the reign of John 
Hyrcanus, ix. between 109 and 105. (3) Just before the 
end of his reign a breach occurred between John Hyr- 
canus and the Pharisees. It is inconceivable that a 
Pharisaic writer, such as the author of the Testaments, 
could have spoken of Hyrcanus in such terms of praise 
after the outbreak had taken place. The date, therefore, 
may be fixed between 109 and 107 B.C. With regard to 
the Jewish interpolations, Dr. Charles holds that the 
bulk of them were made between 70 and 40 b.c. The 
Christian additions were made at different periods. Many 
of them must have been introduced into the text at a very 
early date, because they are found in a Greek version, 
with which St. Paul was familiar, and which must there- 
fore have been in existence before a.d. 50. 

Value of the Book. — The Testaments are full of in- 
terest for the modern student. 

(i) There is no Jewish document which had a greater 
influence on the New Testament. Charles cites a 


number of passages which seem to prove conclusively 
that the resemblances between certain elements in the 
teaching of Jesus and the statements of the Testaments 
could not have been accidental. He further quotes no 
less than thirty passages from the Epistles of Paul which 
make it absolutely certain that our document must have 
produced a great impression upon the mind of the 
Apostle. There are, for instance;, no less than seventy 
words common to the Epistles of Paul and the Testa- 
ments which are not found elsewhere in the pages of 
the New Testament. From the point of view of New 
Testament exegesis, therefore, the document is of 
incalculable value. 

(2) The Testaments represent the high-water mark of 
Jewish ethics. No other document affords us such clear 
insight into the higher moral teaching of the Judaism of 
this period. In many respects there is a considerable 
advance upon the ethical teaching of the Old Testament 
and an approximation to that of the New. It contains, 
for instance, as Charles says, "the most remarkable 
statement on the subject of forgiveness in all ancient 
literature." " If a man sin against thee, speak peaceably 
to him, and in thy soul hold not guile ; and if he repent 
and confess, forgive him. But if he deny it, do not get 
into a passion with him, lest catching the poison from 
thee, he take to swearing and so thou sin doubly. . . . 
And though he deny it and yet have a sense of shame 


when reproved, give over reproving him. For he who 
denieth may repent so as not again to wrong thee ; yea, 
he may also honour thee and be at peace with thee. 
But if he be shameless, and persisteth in his wrong-doing, 
even so forgive him from the heart and leave to God 
the avenging " (Test. Gad, vi. 3-7). 

(3) Another important feature of the book is its U7ii- 
versalism. It has a broader outlook than any other 
document of the period. The Gentiles are included in 
the scope of the Divine purpose. The Law was given 
" to lighten every man," and not merely the Jew. There 
are righteous men to be found in every nation. At the 
great consummation " the twelve tribes shall be gathered 
together, and all the Gentiles, until the Most High shall 
send forth His salvation." 



There are three other books belonging to the wider 
Apocrypha which cannot be classed as Apocalyptic, and 
must therefore be treated separately, viz. HL Maccabees, 
IV. Maccabees, and the Psalms of Solomon. 


The title bestowed upon this book is altogether a 
misnomer. There is absolutely no reference to the 
Maccabees or the Maccabsean age in it at all. How 
the book got its name is quite inexplicable. The only 
point which it has in common with the other books of 
Maccabees is, that it tells the story of the faithfulness 
of the Jewish people in a time of persecution. Some 
scholars have tried to justify the title by supposing that 
it was intended originally to be a kind of introduction 
to the books which deal with the Maccabaean rising, but 
there seems to be nothing in the book itself that at all 
substantiates this theory. The only plausible explana- 
tion is to suppose that the title is due to an accident in 
transmission, though it is quite impossible, of course, to 
discover how the accident happened. 


Contents. — HI. Maccabees may be termed a histori- 
cal romance. The scene is laid in Jerusalem and 
Alexandria in the reign of Ptolemy (IV.) Philopator 
(222-204 B.C.). The story of the book is as follows. 
After his victory over Antiochus at Raphia in 217 B.C., 
Ptolemy visits Jerusalem and makes an attempt to enter 
the Temple, in spite of the indignant protests of priests 
and people. A scene of the utmost confusion ensues. 
The people clamour for armed resistance. Amidst the 
panic the voice of the High Priest Simon is heard sup- 
plicating God to prevent the violation of the Temple. 
In answer to Simon's prayer, Ptolemy is smitten with 
paralysis, and returns to Alexandria, resolved on ven- 
geance. He issues an edict ordering all the Jews in 
Alexandria to embrace the worship of Bacchus or forfeit 
their civic status and privileges. As this edict does not 
produce the desired effect, Ptolemy determines to pro- 
ceed to more extreme measures. He commands that 
the whole of the Jewish population of Alexandria shall 
be imprisoned in the hippodrome, and that their names 
shall be taken down in a register before the general 
massacre, which he contemplates, is carried into effect. 
The work of registration goes on continuously for forty 
days, and then the clerks report that, owing to the vast 
number of the Jews, the supply of writing materials has 
been exhausted. Ptolemy then gives the order that in- 
toxicated elephants are to be let loose upon the Jews in 


the hippodrome. The description of the manner in 
which the catastrophe was averted by Providence forms 
the climax of the story. The final deliverance was pre- 
ceded by two temporary respites. On the first occasion, 
King Ptolemy overslept himself, and did not awake till 
it was too late to execute the order on the appointed 
day. On another occasion, Ptolemy is made by Provi- 
dence to forget his orders and declare that he never 
issued them. These interventions were only a prelude, 
however, to the denouement^ when, in answer to the 
prayers of the venerable priest Eleazar, " two angels, 
glorious and terrible," appeared from heaven and struck 
consternation into the hearts of the king and the people. 
The miracle completely changed the attitude of King 
Ptolemy. The advisers who had counselled the persecu- 
tion were ignominiously dismissed, and the Jewish people 
restored to all their ancient privileges. 

Historical Value. — Very little value can be attached 
to the narrative of III. Maccabees. A similar story 
is told by Josephus of a later king, Ptolemy VII. 
(146-116 B.C.). His account is as follows: "When 
Ptolemy Physco had the presumption to fight against 
Onias's army, and had caught all the Jews that were in 
the city (Alexandria) with their wives and children, and 
exposed them naked and in bonds to his elephants, that 
they might be trodden upon and destroyed, and when 
he had made those elephants drunk for the purpose, the 


event proved contrary to his preparations, for the elephants 
left the Jews and fell violently upon Physco's friends and 
slew a great number of them ; after this, Ptolemy saw a 
terrible ghost which prevented his hurting these men. 
... It is well known that the Alexandrian Jews do 
wuth good reason celebrate this day on account of the 
great deliverance which was vouchsafed to them by 
God." ^ The accounts in Josephus and in III. Maccabees 
contain so many discrepancies that it is impossible to 
reconcile them, and difficult to regard either of them as 
historical. Probably, however, there is some basis of 
fact behind the stories. The Alexandrian Jews doubt- 
less, at some time or other, were providentially delivered 
from a fierce persecution, in which perhaps the royal 
elephants may have been destined to play a part. The 
original fact, however, has been so overlaid with legendary 
elements that it is quite impossible to disconnect the 
truth from the fiction with which it has been surrounded. 
Date and Authorship. — An attempt has been made 
by several distinguished scholars to connect the book 
with Caligula's attempt to defile the Temple at Jeru- 
salem by erecting within its precincts a statue of himself, 
and his subsequent persecution of the Jews (a.d. 40). 
Though this hypothesis furnishes an excellent motive 
for the composition of III. Maccabees, it cannot, un- 
fortunately, be substantiated. The writer would surely 
^ Treatise against Apion, ii. 5. 

in. MACCABEES 109 

not have allowed Caligula's claim to receive divine 
honours to pass unnoticed, when an allusion to it would 
have heightened the colours in which he has portrayed 
Ptolemy's acts of sacrilege. Since this theory seems 
to fail us, and no other explanation of the occasion of 
the book is forthcoming, it is only possible to form the 
vaguest views with regard to the authorship and date of 
III. Maccabees. All that we can say is that the author 
must have been an Alexandrian Jew, and that he com- 
posed the book either in the first century B.C. or (as 
seems more probable) the first century a.d. 

Religious Teaching. — There are very few specially 
distinctive features about the religious teaching of 
III. Maccabees. It discusses no theological problems, 
and it makes very little contribution to theological 
thought. Its interests are in the practical rather than 
in the speculative side of religion. The following ideas 
are prominent: (i) Great stress is laid upon the value 
of prayer. The miraculous interventions are represented 
in both cases as direct answers to prayer, and the prayers 
of Simon and Eleazar, which produced the interventions, 
are reported at length. (2) Emphasis is laid upon the 
conception of Providence. The writer speaks of " the 
unconquerable Providence" which came to the assist- 
ance of the Jews (chap. iv. 21). This is a Greek idea 
which attained particular prominence amongst the 



The fourth book of Maccabees is quite unlike the 
other books which bear the same title. It makes no 
pretence to give a historical account of the Maccabaean 
age. Its chief interest is in philosophy and rehgion : 
the historical elements (if such they can be called) are 
entirely secondary and subordinate, and are only intro- 
duced to illustrate and substantiate its philosophical 
principles. The book is really a sermon or homily, 
a hortatory address intended to urge its hearers or 
readers to a life of fidelity to God and self-control. 

Contents. — The theme of the book is stated in the 
opening sentence. The writer says that " he intends 
to demonstrate a most philosophical proposition, viz. 
that pious reason is absolute master of the passions." 
It is through reason, he asserts, that man is able to 
attain self-control, and curb the appetites and passions 
which constantly threaten to destroy his virtue. There 
is one limitation, however, to the power of reason. It 
cannot control its own affections. It does not enable 
a man to root out desire, though it does make it possible 
for him to avoid being enslaved to it. "A man may 
not be able to eradicate malice, but reason has power 
to prevent him yielding to it," "for reason is not an 
eradicator but an antagonist of the passions " (chap. iii. 
1-3). The writer's method of proof may be given in 


his own words. " I might prove to you from many 
other considerations that pious reason is the sole master 
of the passions, but I shall prove it most effectually from 
the fortitude of Eleazar, and of the seven brethren and 
their mother ; for all these proved by their contempt of 
torture and death that reason has command over the 
passions." These historical illustrations, which the 
writer regards as a demonstration of his thesis, occupy 
three-fourths of the book. We may divide IV. Macca- 
bees, therefore, into the following sections : (a) state- 
ment of thesis and definition of terms (chaps, i.-iv.); 
(If) narrative of- the trial and torture of the aged priest 
Eleazar (chaps, v. i-vi. 30); (^r) the lessons which are 
to be drawn from the story (chaps, vi. 31-vii. 23); 
(d) description of the torture and martyrdom of the 
seven youths (chaps, viii. i-xii. 20) ; (e) the writer's 
comments on their fortitude (chaps, xiii. i-xiv. 10); 
(/) reflections on the sufferings and constancy of their 
mother (chaps, xiv. ii-xviii.). These historical illustra- 
tions are an expansion of the narrative in II. Maccabees 
(chaps, vi. i8-vii. 42). 

Characteristic Features of the Book. — (i) As has 
already been said, the book is probably a homily, and 
the only specimen of Jewish sermonic literature which 
has been preserved in the Apocrypha. This conclusion 
is drawn from the frequent appeals which the writer 
makes to his hearers or readers {cf. chap, xviii. i). 


Though the writer adopts the sermonic form, however, 
it can scarcely be supposed that the book represents 
an ordinary Jewish discourse such as might have been 
deHvered in the synagogue. There is a certain artifi- 
ciality about the language and the argument of the book 
which seems to show that the form has been chosen 
as a literary device rather than as an example of Jewish 
preaching. (2) The book has been described as a 
"characteristic product of Hellenistic culture of the 
best type." The influence of Greek thought is patent 
upon every page. The very thesis of the book may be 
described as a Jewish version of the Socratic dictum, 
*' Virtue is knowledge." The terminology which the 
writer uses in his treatment of his subject has far more 
in common with Greek philosophy than it has with the 
Old Testament. There are marked traces, too, of 
Stoic tendencies. The four cardinal virtues, for instance, 
upon which the writer so strongly insists, are borrowed 
directly from Stoicism. Yet in spite of his sympathy 
with Greek and Stoic thought, the author of IV. Macca- 
bees is a loyal Jew, devoted to the Law^, and passionately 
opposed to any weakening of its authority. Indeed 
he goes as far as to maintain that "it is only the 
children of the Hebrews who are invincible in the fight 
for virtue" (chap. ix. 18). (3) The book has absolutely 
no historical value. The writer borrows his illustrations 
from II. Maccabees, a source of most dubious authority, 


and expands the narrative in order to suit his own 
purpose. The speeches and prayers which he puts 
into the mouths of his heroes are clearly his own 

Authorship and Date. — Many of the early Christian 
Fathers, e.g. Eusebius and Jerome, attributed IV. 
Maccabees to Josephus. There does not, however, 
seem to be the slightest justification for the theory, since 
the book presents the most marked differences, both in 
style and thought, from the genuine works of Josephus. 
The name of the author is lost beyond recovery, but 
the internal evidence of the book itself enables us to 
form a tolerably clear conception of his character and 
general outlook. We know that he must have been : 
(a) A yew, who sympathised mainly with the Pharisaic 
party, and probably belonged to it. His attitude to the 
Law is enough in itself to make this conclusion unassail- 
able, (d) A Quietist, like the author of the Assumption 
of Moses. This deduction is obvious from the fact that 
he selects as his heroes, not Judas Maccabeus, but 
the martyrs who laid down their lives rather than submit 
to the demands of Antiochus Epiphanes. "And the 
nation through them," he writes, " obtained peace, and 
having renewed the observance of the Law drove the 
enemy out of the land " (chap, xviii. 4), a statement which 
is not strictly true, as it ignores altogether the work of 
the Maccabees, {c) A Hellenist, who had come under the 


influence of Greek and Stoic ideas. There is no other 
book in the Apocrypha which shows such sympathy 
with the wider culture of the age. (d) Probably an 
Alexafidria?i. The use which the book makes of II. 
Maccabees, and the fact that the earliest notices of it 
are found in literature of Alexandrian origin, seem to 
make this assumption a certainty. With regard to the 
date of the book, we have no evidence to go upon, 
except that we know that it must have been written 
later than II. Maccabees, from which it drew a con- 
siderable amount of material. The probability is that 
it was composed either just before or just after the 
commencement of the Christian era. 

Religious Value. — IV. Maccabees is of great value 
for the student of the New Testament. Its author had 
many points in common with the Apostle Paul. Both 
were zealous Pharisees, both were animated by intense 
religious fervour, both were influenced by the culture of 
the day, especially in its Stoic form. In fact, it would 
not be difficult to imagine that the book might have 
been the composition of Paul if he had never been con- 
verted to Christianity. We may almost say, therefore, 
that the measure of the difference between IV. Maccabees 
and the Epistles of Paul represents the measure of the 
influence of Christianity. The following points in the 
book seem to be particularly instructive : (i) The main 
theme of the book — or rather its limitation — that reason 


is not master of its own affections, and so cannot control 
thoughts and motives, throws a clear light on the re- 
ligious development of Paul in his pre-Christian days. 
It was when Paul realised that the Law did not enable 
him to keep the commandment, " Thou shalt not covet," 
and that it had no power to govern the inner realm of 
the spirit, that the crisis came which proved the turning- 
point in his spiritual life. It was this limitation, which 
is so acutely recognised in IV. Maccabees, which gave 
Paul no peace till he found peace in the Gospel of 
Christ. (2) Great stress is laid in the book on the 
conception of "propitiation." The death of the martyrs 
atones for the sins of the people. This idea occurs 
several times in the book, but the clearest statement is 
found in chap. xvii. 22. "So that they became an atone- 
ment for the sin of the people, and by the blood of those 
pious ones, and by their propitiatory death, the Divine 
Providence saved Israel, which aforetime had been 
afflicted." It seems probable that this passage sug- 
gested to Paul some of the ideas which are found in 
his great statement in Rom. iii. 25. (3) This book 
helps also to explain and illustrate the combination of 
Jewish and Stoic elements in the Pauline theology, 
though, of course, the combination in Paul is not the 
same as that in IV. Maccabees. 



The Psalms of Solomon occupy the same place in 
Apocryphal literature as the Psalter does in the Old 
Testament, though it is clear, from the scantiness of 
the allusions to them in early times, that they never 
secured a mde circulation, nor won their way into the 
affection of the Christian Church. The collection con- 
sists of eighteen Psalms of varying length and value. 
They are written for the most part in imitation of the 
Old Testament Psalter, and often reproduce its language, 
though it must be admitted that some of them are not 
devoid of originality and forcefulness. 

Date. — The date of the Psalms can be fixed by the 
allusions to historical events which are found in them. 
The political situation, which constitutes the historical 
background of the book, is as follows. The Jews are in 
a condition of great outward prosperity, when suddenly 
a rumour is heard that a hostile host is approaching the 
city, led by a stranger who comes from the uttermost 
parts of the earth, and is called, at different times, " the 
sinner," "the lawless," "the dragon," and "the adver- 
sary." The invader attacks Jerusalem, and breaks down 
its walls with his battering-ram : the Gentile host enters 
the Temple and pollutes the altar. A massacre takes 
place, in which blood is poured out like water in the 
streets of Jerusalem. Large numbers of Jews are sent 


into exile " in the bounds of the west." Later on, how- 
ever, retribution overtakes the conqueror for his pro- 
fanity. He is assassinated in Egypt, his body hes tossing 
on the waves, and there is no one to bury him. There 
is only one episode in Jewish history which at all 
answers to this description, viz. the destruction of 
Jerusalem by Pompey in 63 B.C. We may therefore, 
with confidence, place the Psalms of Solomon in the 
period 70-40 B.C., the latter date being fixed by the 
death of Pompey, which occurred in 48 B.C. 

Authorship. — In view of the minor differences which 
appear in the various Psalms, it is impossible to maintain 
the theory of a common author. The collection was 
probably the work of a group of men who, while agreeing 
with regard to their general religious outlook, differed 
among themselves upon smaller questions. There is no 
diflficulty in deciding upon the party to which this group 
belonged. They were evidently Pharisees, and the 
Psalms were composed with the object of strengthening 
the Pharisaic position and attacking the Sadducees. 
Throughout the book the Pharisees are termed "the 
righteous " and " the saints," while the Sadducees are 
described as " sinners " and " transgressors." All the 
distinctive Pharisaic tenets are strongly enforced and 
emphasised by the Psalmists ; in fact the books afford 
the best portrait which we possess of the Pharisaic ideal 
in the middle of the first century B.C. Everything 


points to the fact that the Psalms were the work of 
Palestinian Jews who almost certainly lived in Jerusalem. 
The evidence of the language and style proves con- 
clusively, too, that these Psalms, which we only possess 
in a Greek version, were originally written in Aramaic. 

Religious Outlook. — As we have already seen, the 
book represents the creed of the Pharisees, and its 
specific theological teaching is therefore necessarily that 
of this particular school of Jewish thought. Among the 
ideas which are most prominent in these Psalms we may 
note the following: (i) The belief in theocracy. The 
watchword of the Pharisees, especially in the face of the 
Roman domination, was always, " The Lord is King." 
(2) The belief in the Law as the expression of the Divine 
ideal. True righteousness consists in strictly keeping 
the legal ordinances and avoiding any violation of the 
ceremonial law. It must be admitted, however, that 
much more stress is laid upon the inner life and the 
need of prayer and repentance by the authors of these 
Psalms than by the later Pharisees who are described in 
the pages of the New Testament. (3) The belief in the 
future life. At the time of God's visitation, the righteous 
will rise to " life eternal " and inherit the promises of the 
Lord. The fate of the wicked, on the other hand, is 
stated in terms which seem to imply the doctrine of 
annihilation. "The destruction of the sinner is for 
ever." There is no evidence to show that the writers 


believed, like most Pharisees, in a physical resurrection, 
though this idea is not excluded. 

The Prophecy of the Messiah. — The most noteworthy 
feature of the Psalms is the great prophecy of the advent 
of the Messiah which is found in Ps. xvii. 27-51. The 
Messiah, to whom the Psalmist looks forward, is un- 
doubtedly an earthly ruler. He is described as " Son of 
David" and "the Lord Christ," but has no Divine 
attributes assigned to him. This Messiah is to be 
raised up by God to deliver the people from the Roman 
supremacy and to terminate the Sadducean rule. He 
will cleanse Jerusalem from all impurity, and bring back 
into Palestine the Jews of the Dispersion. He himself 
will be free from sin and will make his people holy. 
He will win his victory not by force of arms but by " the 
word of his mouth." To quote the words of Ryle and 
James, to whom we owe our best edition of the Psalms : 
''The Messiah of this Psalm is not Divine. Divinely 
appointed, divinely raised up, endowed with Divine gifts 
he is, but he is nothing more than man. Neither of 
supernatural birth nor of pre-existence in the bosom of 
God or among the angels of God do we find any trace. 
If he is called Lord, the word is only used of him as it 
might be used of an earthly lord. However high the 
conception of his moral character and spiritual quali- 
fications, he is man and man only." 


There is a sense in which it can be said that the New 
Testament does not possess an Apocrypha. There is 
no well-defined collection of writings, like the Old 
Testament Apocrypha proper, which have been re- 
cognised at any time as Scripture by the general consent 
of the Church. The New^ Testament Apocryphal writings 
correspond more nearly to the wider Apocrypha of the 
Old Testament, and comprise a number of documents 
of very varying value, which claim to have originated 
from the Apostolic age, and some of which were held in 
high esteem by the Christian Church. 

The reason why there is no New Testament Apocrypha 
in the technical sense of the word can easily be ex- 
plained. The Old Testament Apocrypha is the result of 
the existence of two different Canons of the Old 
Testament, both of which won for themselves wide 
recognition. In the case of the New Testament this 
phenomenon does not exist. There have been, of course, 
different Canons in different sections of the Church. 


The ^thiopic Canon, for instance, contains eight books 
which are not found in our New Testament. The 
Canon of the Greek Church omits the Book of 
Revelation, and includes some documents which are 
not recognised elsewhere. The Syrian Canon omitted 
four of the CathoHc Epistles and the Apocalypse. The 
Muratorian Fragment (a.d. 170) did not include Hebrews, 
James, or H. Peter, but recognised the Apocalypse of 
Peter. Individual Fathers, too, in the third and fourth 
centuries, showed their own particular preferences by 
their acceptance or rejection of different books. 
But there never was a time, at least after the third 
century, when two rival Canons divided Christendom. 

At one period it seemed as if such a division of 
opinion were inevitable. At the close of the second 
century we find different Canons of the New Testament 
in the Eastern and Western divisions of the Church. 
Both Canons included the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles 
of Paul, I. John, I. Peter, and the Apocalypse. The 
Eastern Canon added to this list Hebrews and James, 
the Western 11. and HI. John, and Jude. Neither 
Canon included H. Peter. Now, if this cleavage of 
opinion had been maintained, the result would have 
been that a New Testament Apocrypha would have been 
created, consisting of the differentia between the two 
Canons, viz. Hebrews, James, H. and HI. John, and 
Jude, to which doubtless II. Peter would have been 


afterwards added. The difference, however, was not 
perpetuated. The two Canons coalesced, with the result 
that our present New Testament was produced. 

The Apocryphal Writings. — But though we have no 
Apocrypha in the technical sense of the term, we have 
a large number of documents which correspond to the 
wider Apocrypha of the Old Testament. They may be 
classified as follows : — 

(i) Books which were at one tiitie used as Scripture 
in the Church. This class forms the nearest approach 
to a New Testament Apocrypha proper. The New 
Testament, like the Old, was only gradually collected 
together. The process took, at any rate, three centuries. 
During this period, several books which did not finally 
get into the Canon were used in public worship. Some 
of them are actually found appended to the two earliest 
and most valuable MSS. of the New Testament. The 
most important documents belonging to this class are 
the Epistle of Clement, the Teaching of the Twelve 
Apostles, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the Shepherd 
of Hermas. The Gospel and Apocalypse of Peter were 
also used in church, but for purposes of convenience 
they will be dealt with in another class. 

(2) Apocryphal Gospels. We possess a large number 
of Apocryphal Gospels of varying importance. They 
may be classified as follows : {a) Gospels which have some 
claim to be regarded as genuifie and authentic. The only 


Gospel which is generally admitted into this class is the 
Gospel according to the Hebrews. {I?) Heretical Gospels^ 
i.e. Gospels which have been altered and amended to 
suit the views of some heretical sect. The most 
important Gospels of this kind are : the Gospel of Peter, 
the Gospel according to the Egyptians, and the Gospel 
of the Ebionites. {c) The Logia documents, or the 
newly discovered " Sayings of Jesus," to use the better 
known description, must be put in a class by themselves, 
because at present we do not possess sufficient data for 
determining their value. (^) The Legendary Gospels., all 
of which are .full of romantic stories about Jesus which 
are universally regarded as fictitious. These Gospels 
maybe divided into the following groups: (i) Those 
which relate to the Virgin Birth and Infancy of Jesus. 
The most important document of this class is the 
Protevangelium of James, which is the source from 
which several of the other Gospels of this species, viz. 
the Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew, and the Gospel of 
the Nativity of Mary, were derived. Under this 
heading we may also conveniently place the History 
of Joseph the Carpenter, and the Assumption of Mary. 
(2) Those which deal with the boyhood of Jesus. The 
chief place in this class must be given to the Gospel of 
Thomas. (3) Gospels which relate to Pilate. The f 
most important of these is the Gospel of Nicodemus. -^ 
(3) Apocryphal Acts. We also possess a considerable 


number of documents written in imitation of the Acts 
of the Apostles, and claiming to give a history of the 
work of different Apostles after the Ascension of Jesus. 
The most important of these are : the Acts of Paul and 
Thecla, the Acts of Thomas, the Acts of Andrew, the 
Acts of John, the Acts of Peter, the Acts of Peter and 

(4) Very few Apocryphal Epistles have survived. 
The most important of these are : the Correspondence 
between Jesus and Abgarus, the Epistle of Paul to the 
Laodiceans, and the Correspondence between Paul and 

(5) The most valuable and best known of the Apo- 
cjyphal Apocalypses is the Apocalypse of Peter, a large 
fragment of which has been recently discovered. There 
are others, e.g. the Apocalypses of John and Paul, but 
they are of slight importance. 

Value of the New Testament Apocrypha. — The New 
Testament Apocrypha are not so important for us to-day 
as the Apocrypha of the Old Testament. They have a 
greater value for the student of Church history and 
Christian doctrine than for the student of the New 
Testament. They illustrate, for instance, the rise of 
the heretical sects and their treatment of Scripture, the 
growth of Mariolatry, the prevalence of the Doketic 
explanation of Christ, the development of superstition, 
&c. Still they are not without some value even for 


New Testament work, (a) The fragments of the Gospel 
to the Hebrews, for instance, are now generally regarded 
as containing authentic material for the life of Christ. 
So, too, the fragment of the Gospel of Peter, when the 
heretical elements in it have been discounted, appears 
to contain genuine tradition which can be judiciously 
turned to account. (^) The Logia throw some light 
on the synoptic problem, since they bear witness to the 
existence of separate collections of sayings of Jesus 
similar to the document which must have been used 
by Matthew and Luke in the writing of their Gospels. 
(c) The earlier documents are valuable for the purposes 
of textual criticism, since they preserve certain early 
readings. (d) The Apocryphal books also at times 
assist us in the work of exegesis, since they give the 
interpretation placed upon certain passages of the New 
Testament in early times, (e) The Legendary Gospels 
act as a foil to show the sobriety of the narratives in 
the Canonical Gospels. 





That the first Epistle of Clement was used in public 
worship is clearly proved by two statements of Eusebius 
(330) in his Ecclesiastical History. The first statement is 
found in an excerpt from a letter of Dionysius of Corinth 
(160-180) to Soter, Bishop of Rome. In reply to Soter, 
Dionysius says : "To-day has been the Lord's day, and 
we have read your Epistle. Whenever we read it, we shall 
have our minds stored with counsel, as we do when we 
read the letter which was written to us in former times by 
Clement " (Book iv. 23). It was not only in Corinth, how- 
ever, that this Epistle was used in worship, for in his 
second statement (Book iii. 16) Eusebius says: "This 
Epistle we know to have been publicly read for the 
common benefit in most of the churches both in former 
times and in our own day." The custom of using the 
Epistle in church seems to have continued for some 
time after Eusebius, for at the commencement of the 


fifth century Jerome tells us that " it was still read 
publicly in some places." 

The Character of the Epistle. — The Epistle was 
written in the name of the Church at Rome to the 
Church at Corinth. " The Church of God sojourning 
in Rome " (so runs the opening verse) " to the Church 
of God sojourning in Corinth." The occasion of its 
composition was the outbreak "of an unholy and detest- 
able sedition " which threatened to destroy the unity of 
the Corinthian Church. The Church at Corinth seems 
never to have been able to shake off its unenviable 
reputation for party divisions and factions, which from 
the earliest times, as we know from the Epistles of St. 
Paul, marred its harmony and hindered its development. 
What particular form the dispute took on this occasion, 
cannot be definitely determined. It raged round the 
heads of some of the presbyters, as the officers of the 
Church were called, but on what ground it is impossible 
to tell. It may have been a purely personal quarrel : 
possibly the Church had grown tired of its officers. Or 
it may have been the birth-pangs which attended the 
rise of a new system of government in the Church. 
The old order of things, as we know, was beginning to 
pass away, and a new method of government, which 
finally placed each Church under the control of a single 
bishop, was beginning to develop, and it may be that 
the strife at Corinth was in some way connected with 


this change. Whatever its source, the controversy was 
absolutely fatal to the peace of the Church, and stultified 
its influence. And so the Church at Rome, for the first 
time in history, intervened with this letter of friendly 
counsel and wise advice. The Epistle may be described, 
therefore, as a tract in favour of unity and charity, and 
it must have been largely due to its character that it 
obtained its position among the " sacred writings " which 
were used in the worship of the Church. 

Authorship and Date. — The Epistle is anonymous, 
and affords no hint as to the identity of its author. 
Tradition from the time of Dionysius of Corinth is unani- 
mous in ascribing it to Clement of Rome. Who was 
this Clement? Many of the ancient Fathers identify 
him with the Clement mentioned by Paul in the Epistle 
to the Philippians (chap. iv. 3). This theory, however, 
seems to be very improbable. Though Clement mentions 
Paul in the Epistle, he never alludes to any personal 
connection with him, and neither in contents or style 
does the Epistle show the slightest trace of Pauline 
influence. The name Clement was very common, and 
no two Clements ought to be identified on the mere 
ground that they bore the same name. A second 
attempt to identify Clement has been made in modern 
times. We know that a certain Flavius Clemens, a 
consul and relative of the Emperor Domitian, was 
sentenced to death for atheism [i.e. for being a Christian] 


during the time of the persecution. A later writing 
ascribed to Clement of Rome (though not really his) 
states that he was of regal extraction. Putting these 
two facts together, many scholars have concluded that 
the bishop and the martyr were one and the same 
person. The fatal objection to this hypothesis, however, 
is the fact that there is absolutely no reference in 
Christian literature or tradition to the martyrdom of 
Clement of Rome : on the contrary, Eusebius distinctly 
asserts that he died a natural death in the third year 
of Trajan's reign. We are driven, therefore, to the 
conclusion that nothing can be ascertained with regard 
to Clement of Rome, except that he was a distinguished 
leader in the Roman Church, and in later days was 
dignified with the title of Bishop. The date of the 
Epistle is almost unanimously placed in a.d. 95-96. 

Value of the Epistle. — It cannot be said that the 
Epistle of Clement possesses a very great intrinsic value 
of its own. The style is diffuse and tedious, and the 
writer's ideas rarely rise above the commonplace. The 
theology is conventional, and shows but little apprecia- 
tion of the great truths which constitute the essence of 
the teaching of St. Paul. It is not easy at first sight to 
explain the attraction which the Epistle had for the 
early Church. Its popularity was probably due : (i) to 
its plain and simple message ; (2) the fact that its ex- 
hortation to unity was constantly needed ; (3) its antiquity^ 


for it was more ancient than some of the later books of 
the New Testament ; (4) its Roman origin, which in later 
times, when the Roman Church w^as claiming the supre- 
macy, naturally commended it. To-day no one would 
put in a plea for its recognition as Scripture, yet from a 
historical point of view the Epistle has no little interest 
for us. {a) It is probably the earliest Christian docu- 
ment outside the New Testament, {b) It gives us a 
very good conception of the Christian belief at the time, 
and proves conclusively that the teaching of St. Paul 
had not yet been assimilated by the Church. {c) It 
contains an explicit reference to Paul's first Epistle to 
the Corinthians, and gives several quotations from the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, and so proves that these books 
were widely circulated and recognised before the close 
of the first century. 


The Didache or Teaching of the Apostles was dis- 
covered in 1873 by Bryennius, an ecclesiastic of the 
Greek Church, in the Jerusalem Convent at Constanti- 
nople, and published ten years later. We have abundant 
evidence that the book held a very high place in the 
regard of the early Church. Clement of Alexandria quotes 
it as Scripture. It is mentioned in Athanasius' list of 
sacred writings, where it follows immediately after Judith 


and Tobit. In Eusebius' classification of the books 
which claimed recognition in the Canon, it is ranked in 
the class of " the rejected." 

Character and Contents. — The book falls into two 
parts, which are only loosely connected together. The 
first part, known as " The Two Ways," is an ethical tract 
setting forth the contrast between the paths of righteous- 
ness and unrighteousness, " the way of life " and " the 
way of death." It gives us a clear exposition of the 
general moral teaching of the early Church. Christians 
are urged to follow the rule of forgiveness and charity 
as laid down by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, and 
warned against the sins forbidden in the Decalogue and 
in the teaching of Jesus and Paul. The second part of 
the book deals with the institutions of the Church. It 
lays down regulations for the rite of Baptism and the 
celebration of the Agape. It gives the criteria by which 
the true teacher can be distinguished from the false, 
and offers advice with regard to fasting and the election 
of ministers. 

Date of the Didache. — There is a considerable diver- 
gence of opinion with regard to the date of the Didache. 
Some scholars place it as early as a.d. 70 or 80. Harnack 
thinks that it did not assume its present form till be- 
tween 130 and 160. Harnack's conclusions are based 
upon the assumption that the author of the Didache 
used the Epistle of Barnabas, which, according to him, 


was written about 130. This assumption, however, is 
not demonstrable. The undoubted relation between 
the two books can be explained in other ways. The 
Didache bears on its face clear tokens of an early date. 
The Lord's Supper, for instance, is still part of the Agape ; 
the authority of the bishop has not yet been established ; 
the order of prophets occupies the highest rank in the 
Church. The book was evidently written during a 
state of transition, when the simple organisation of the 
New Testament was beginning to pass over into the 
episcopal form of government which was almost uni- 
versally adopted before the middle of the second century. 
The Didache, therefore, seems to stand half-way between 
the Epistles of St. Paul and the Letters of Ignatius 
(a.d. 117). We shall not be far wrong if we date it 
about A.D. 100, though it may have been written a 
decade or two earlier. 

The Value of the Didache. — The Didache is a treatise 
of very great importance from a historical point of view. 
(a) It gives us a graphic picture of the ethical teaching 
of the early Church. There can be little doubt that 
it was originally composed as a manual of instruction 
for catechumens before Baptism, and represents, there- 
fore, the teaching which was given to new converts before 
their admission to the Church. It may thus be said to 
preserve the opinion of the Church in the last decades 
of the first century with regard to the essential truths of 


the Christian reHgion. (2) It bridges over the gap 
between the New Testament and Patristic literature, 
and shows us how the organisation and simple rites of 
the Apostolic Church were beginning to pass into the 
elaborate system which they assumed in later time. 
The reference to Baptism, for instance, is very inte- 
resting, because it reveals to us the way in which the 
transition from immersion to aspersion took place. 
" Baptize " (so runs the regulation of the Didache) " in 
running water : but if running water is not available, 
use other water. If you cannot baptize in cold water, 
baptize in warm. If neither is possible, pour water 
over the head [of the candidate] thrice in the name 
of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." (3) It gives 
us an interesting description of the Agape and Lord's 
Supper. The most remarkable feature about the state- 
ment is that, in the prayers which are given for use on 
the occasion of the celebration of the Sacrament, there 
is no allusion at all to the redemptive value of the 
death of Christ. (4) It proves conclusively that Lightfoot 
and Hatch were right in maintaining that episcopacy was 
not the earliest form of Church government, but only 
originated in the second century. The ministry to which 
the greatest importance was attached at first was that of 
the prophets. In the Didache the influence of the pro- 
phets is beginning to wane, and there are already signs 
that their place is beginning to be taken by the bishops. 


To the student of the New Testament, therefore, 
who is anxious to form some conception of the condition 
of the Church at the close of the Apostolic age, the 
Didache is a document of supreme value. 


The high importance which was attached to the 
Epistle of Barnabas in early times is proved by the 
following facts : it is found in one of the earliest and 
most valuable MSS. of the New Testament — the Sinaitic 
— where it follows immediately after the Book of Revela- 
tion ; Clement of Alexandria (200) frequently quotes it, 
and ascribes it to the Apostle Barnabas; Origen (250) 
describes it as the " Catholic Epistle of Barnabas," and 
cites it as Scripture. 

Contents. — The Epistle seems to be addressed, not to 
the members of a particular congregation, but to the 
Church as a whole. Its aim and purpose are defined 
by its author thus : " I write unto you that along with 
your faith ye might have perfect knowledge" {gnosis). 
The problem with which the book deals is one which 
is familiar to readers of the New Testament, and 
which forms the theme of some of the Epistles of 
Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrews, viz. What 
attitude ought the Church to adopt towards the 
Jewish Law ? Is the legal code of the Old Testament 


binding upon Christians ? The writer, who is extremely 
anti-Judaistic, takes up a very radical position, which 
he attempts to substantiate by some extremely novel 
arguments, (i) He shows that the attacks which the 
prophets made upon the sacrificial and ceremonial 
system prove that the Jewish code could not, as 
ordinarily interpreted, be of Divine origin. (2) As a 
matter of fact, the Jews had definitely rejected the 
covenant which God had offered to Moses. When 
Moses broke the tables of stone, it meant that Israel 
had refused the covenant. (3) The Old Testament, 
therefore, is not a Jewish but a Christian book, and 
only the Christian can properly interpret it. (4) The 
true interpretation of the book cannot be found by 
taking the statements literally. We must look below 
the surface. The Old Testament is an allegory, and 
it is only when it is treated as an allegory that it yields 
its true meaning. When we read it aright, we find that, 
far from being anti-Christian, it proclaims the essential 
truths of the Christian faith. (5) The writer then pro- 
ceeds to work out his principle, and gives us some of 
the most interesting illustrations of the method of 
allegorical interpretation found in the literature of the 
Church. Two examples may be given, {a) The writer 
cites inaccurately the statement of Genesis with regard 
to the 318 servants of Abraham, and asks. Why 318.'* 
There must be a mystical explanation, he says, lying 


behind the number. The Greek equivalent for the 
number 318 is formed of the letters TIH. Now T 
obviously represents the Cross, and IH are the first two 
letters of the word Jesus (it should be noted that, in 
Greek, H is the form used to denote capital E long). 
The 318, therefore, typifies the death of Christ upon the 
Cross, (d) Equally remarkable is the writer's explana- 
tion of forbidden foods. " Moses spoke with a mystical 
reference. ' Neither shalt thou eat,' says he, ' the 
eagle, nor the hawk, nor the kite, nor the raven.' Thou 
shalt not join thyself, he means, to such men as know 
not how to procure food for themselves by labour and 
sweat, but seize on that of others in their iniquity." 

Author and Date. — The traditional view which ascribes 
the book to the Apostle Barnabas is very improbable, 
and has now been almost universally rejected. The 
main grounds for the rejection are : (a) The mistakes 
which the writer makes in describing Jewish ritual 
would be incomprehensible if the Epistle were written 
by a Levite like Barnabas, (d) The rabid anti-Judaism 
of the Epistle is quite foreign to the spirit of Barnabas 
— at least, if the picture of him which is drawn by the 
writer of Acts is true, (c) The Epistle exhibits none of 
the characteristics which we should naturally expect to 
find in a book written by the Barnabas of Acts. 

There is a great deal of controversy amongst scholars 
with regard to the date of the Epistle. Many place it 


in the decade following the destruction of Jerusalem. 
Others (among them Harnack) date it about 130. The 
present writer is inclined to accept the latter view, on 
the following grounds : (a) There is no direct reference 
to or connection with the Apostolic age in the Epistle. 
Its whole tone seems to breathe the spirit of the second 
century rather than the first, (d) The writer makes a 
definite quotation from Matthew, which he introduces 
by the formula, " it is written," implying that he regarded 
the source from which the citation was taken as Scripture. 
Matthew could scarcely have been quoted as Scripture 
before the second century, (c) The writer's statement 
in chap, xvi., "They who pulled down the Temple shall 
built it up," seems to refer to the rebuilding of the 
Temple, which took place in 130. 

Value of the Epistle. — The chief value of the Epistle 
for us to-day lies in : (a) The fact that it proves that the 
Old Testament constituted a serious problem in the 
minds of the early Christians. If the Old Testament 
was divinely inspired, why should not its injunctions 
still be enforced? The Epistle gives us one solution 
of the problem — a solution which in different forms 
has always been popular in the Church, (d) The illus- 
trations which it gives of the application of the allegori- 
cal method of interpreting Scripture — a method which 
obtained great vogue in the Church, and some traces 
of which are found in the Epistles of St. Paul. 



No book outside the New Testament was more popu- 
lar in the ancient Church than the Shepherd of Hermas. 
It is found in the famous Codex Sinaiticus at the close of 
the New Testament, and in several other MSS. besides. 
Irenaeus (180) quotes it as Scripture. Origen (250) re- 
gards it as " divinely inspired." Eusebius (330), though 
he refuses to recognise it as canonical, says that " it was 
publicly read in churches," and " deemed most necessary 
for those who have need of elementary instruction." 

Contents. — The book falls into three divisions, con- 
sisting respectively of (a) visions, (If) commandments, 
(c) parables, (a) In the first part Hermas relates ^ve 
visions which came to him at different times. The 
visions are of different kinds. The first, for instance, 
the vision of Rhoda, his former mistress, is intended 
to impress upon Hermas the sinfulness of unchaste 
thoughts. In another, an old woman, who represents 
the Church, appears to Hermas and reproaches him 
for his failure to restrain his wife and children from 
folly and sin. The reason why the Church was por- 
trayed as an o/d woman is explained thus : " She was 
created first of all, and for her sake the world was made." 
In the last vision Hermas sees "a man of glorious 
aspect dressed like a shepherd," who teaches him the 
commandments and parables which form the remaining 


part of the book. It is from this vision that the book 
gets its name. {b) The com7na?zd?nents contain an 
interesting epitome of the ethical teaching of the Church 
of the second century. They emphasise the following 
virtues and graces of the Christian life : belief in God, 
simplicity of life, truthfulness, chastity, forbearance, the 
fear of God, temperance, cheerful trust in God, con- 
fidence in prayer, the necessity of discerning between 
true and false prophets, &c. {c) The third part of the 
book consists of a number of disconnected parables and 
similitudes intended to enforce the main teaching of 
the book. The parable of the vine and the elm, for 
instance, is used to enforce the lesson that the rich man 
is helped by the prayers of the poor. The fact that in 
winter all trees look alike, and the living cannot be dis- 
tinguished from the dead, is used to show^ the impossibility 
of judging the real character of men in this life. 

Authorship and Date. — Some of the Patristic writers 
thought that the book was written by the Hermas men- 
tioned by Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (xvi. 14). 
This view, however, is quite impossible, and finds no 
support in modern times. There is a much more prob- 
able account of the origin of the book in the Muratorian 
Fragment (about 170) : "The Shepherd was written very 
recently in our times by Hermas during the bishopric 
of his brother Pius." This would make the date about 
140. There is one great objection to this theory : 


in the second vision Hermas mentions a man named 
Clement, who is generally identified with Clement of 
Rome. Clement of Rome could not have been living, 
as the passage implies he was, at as late a date as 140. 
Hence many modern scholars reject the statement of 
the Muratorian Fragment, and date the book about 100. 
Probably the best solution of the difficulty is to suppose, 
with Harnack, that the book in its present form was 
written about 140, but that it embodies elements of a 
much earlier origin, some of which may go back to the 
commencement of the century. 

Value of the Book. — The Shepherd of Hermas has 
been very aptly called the " Pilgrim's Progress " of the 
early Church. Like the great allegory of Bunyan, it 
tries to enforce religious truth by visions and illustrations 
and parables. The book is valuable for us because : 
{a) It shows the literary devices to which early teachers 
resorted in order to make their teaching easy to under- 
stand. (^) It contains an excellent manual of the 
ethical teaching which was in vogue in the Church about 
the middle of the second century, (c) Like all the other 
literature of the period, it proves the insignificant in- 
fluence which the theology of Paul had as yet exerted 
over the thought of the Church. Nothing is more remark- 
able in early Christian literature than the almost complete 
eclipse of Paul. Paulinism never held the place in early 
theology which has been assigned to it in Protestantism. 



The Apocryphal Gospels, as we have seen, may be 
divided into three classes : (i) Those which possibly 
preserve elements of genuine tradition. (2) Heretical 
Gospels, i.e. Gospels in which the narrative has been pur- 
posely altered to suit the tenets of some heretical sect. (3) 
Legendary Gospels, which embroider the account of the 
beginning and end of Christ's life with fictitious stories. 


The only Gospel which has any serious claim to be 
regarded as genuine and reliable is the Gospel accord- 
ing to the Hebrews. Unfortunately, however, we only 
possess a few fragments of it, culled from the writings of 
various Fathers of the Church. The most important 
and interesting of these are : — 

{a) Two references to the Baptism of Jesus. " Lo, 
the mother of the Lord and his brethren said to him, 
John the Baptist is baptizing for the remission of sins ;, 


let us go and be baptized by him. But he said, What sin 
have I committed that I should go and be baptized 
by him, unless perchance this very word which I have 
spoken is a sin of ignorance." 

" Now it came to pass, when the Lord had come 
up out of the water, the Holy Spirit with full stream 
came dowa and rested upon him and said to him, My 
son, in all the prophets I was waiting for thee, that thou 
shouldest come and I might rest in thee, for thou art 
my rest. Thou art my first-born son, who reignest for 

{b) An extract containing an account of the visit of 
the rich young man to Christ, which proceeds upon 
the lines of Matt. xix. 16-22, but adds the following 
words : — 

" But the rich man began to scratch his head, and it 
did not please him. And the Lord said to him, How 
sayest thou, I have fulfilled the law and the prophets, since 
it is written in the law. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself, and lo ! many of thy brethren, sons of Abraham, 
are clothed in filth, dying of hunger, and thy home is 
full of many goods and nothing at all goes out to 

{c) A fragment recording the appearance of Jesus to 
James after the Resurrection : — 

" Now the Lord, when he had given the cloth to the 
servant of the priest, went 'to James and appeared to 


him. For James had taken an oath that he would not 
eat bread from that hour on which he had drunk the 
cup of the Lord till he saw him rising from the dead. 
[And the Lord said] Bring a table and bread. And 
he took the bread, and blessed and brake, and afterwards 
gave it to James the Just, and said to him. My brother, 
eat thy bread, for the Son of Man has risen from that 

{d) The following post - Resurrection utterance of 
Jesus : — 

"Take hold, handle me, and see that I am not an 
incorporeal spirit." * 

(e) A few sayings of Jesus : — 

" He that wonders shall reign and he that reigns shall 

" Never be joyful except when ye shall look upon 
your brother in love." 

Origin of the Gospel. — The question of the origin of 
the Gospel to the Hebrews has been a matter of keen 
debate amongst scholars in recent times. There are 
several views, (i) Some of the ancient Fathers regarded 
the Gospel as the original of our Matthew. Jerome, for 
instance, says, "Vocatur a plerisque Matthsei authenti- 
cum." Judging from the fragments which have been 
preserved, this view seems quite untenable, as they bear 
very little relation to our Gospel of Matthew. (2) For 
the same reason the view of some modern scholars, that 


the Gospel to the Hebrews was a version of our Matthew, 
made in the interest of Jewish Christians, seems equally 
out of the question. (3) The Gospel has been identified 
with the original Logia, or Collection of the Sayings of 
Jesus, which was one of the main sources out of which 
our Gospels of Matthew and Luke were composed. 
This view, however, is a pure hypothesis, and does not 
seem to rest on any substantial basis. (4) The theory 
which seems to be most in favour with critics to-day 
maintains that the Gospel is an independent version of 
the Gospel narrative based on the same sources which 
underlie our Synoptics. It was originally written in 
Aramaic, and was composed to suit the needs of the 
Jewish Christian congregations of Palestine. It never 
secured much of a circulation outside Palestine, and as 
Palestinian Christianity sank into comparative insignifi- 
cance, the Gospel to the Hebrews attracted little atten- 
tion, and gradually fell into disfavour. 

Date and Value of the Gospel. — There is a marked 
tendency amongst modern scholars to attach a very early 
date to the Gospel. Harnack, for instance, places it 
between a.d. 65 and 100, thus making it coeval with our 
Synoptics and earlier than the Fourth Gospel. This con- 
clusion is largely based upon the fact that the Gospel is 
definitely mentioned by Hegesippus (170) and quoted by 
Ignatius (115). If Harnack is right, then the fragments 
of the Gospel become exceedingly valuable, and must be 



taken into consideration in every attempt to construct a 
life of Christ. The fragments which deal with the 
Baptism and Resurrection of Jesus are particularly im- 


The most interesting of all the heretical Gospels is 
that ascribed to Peter, a large fragment of which was 
recently discovered by the French Archaeological Mission, 
in a tomb at Akmim (Pentapolis), in Upper Egypt, and 
published in 1892. The fragment, unfortunately, only 
covers the last scenes in the life of Christ. It begins 
with the trial before Pilate, and ends with the visit of 
the women to the empty tomb on Easter morning. 

Character of the Gospel. — The Gospel of Peter is a 
version of the life of Christ written in the interest of the 
Doketic heresy. The Doketists held a peculiar theory 
with regard to Christ. They thought that Divinity and 
humanity could not co-exist in one person, and that the 
humanity was therefore not real, but merely apparent. 
A God could not be born or suffer hunger or be put to 
death. The Divine Christ, therefore, descended into a 
human form after the Baptism and ascended into heaven 
again before the Crucifixion. In order to substantiate 
this view there were many points in the Gospel narrative 



which needed amendment, and the Gospel of Peter 
affords us some interesting illustrations of the freedom 
with which heretics treated the Gospel story. The most 
startling alteration is found in the treatment of the cry 
of Christ upon the Cross, " My God, my God, why hast 
thou forsaken me ? " This, of course, is a flat contra- 
diction to the Doketic position, and so the words are 
changed into " My power, my power, thou hast forsaken 
me " — an allusion to the departure of the Divine Christ 
before the Crucifixion. In the account of the Crucifixion, 
too, the statement is made that Jesus " held his peace, as 
having no pain." This is another feature of the Doketic 
position. The body in which the Divine Christ dwelt 
is regarded as incapable of suffering. Another marked 
characteristic of the Gospel is the antipathy which it 
exhibits towards the Jews. The whole responsibility for 
the Crucifixion is placed upon their shoulders. Pilate is 
completely exonerated from any share in the blame. 
After the Crucifixion they are represented as coming to 
their senses and lamenting their crime. " Then the 
Jews . . . began to lament and say, Woe for our sins : 
for the judgment and the end of Jerusalem hath drawn 
nigh." The Gospel contains some expansions of the 
ordinary narrative, which are evidently due to legendary 
accretion. The most famous is the account which it 
gives of the actual Resurrection of Jesus : — 

"And in the night in which the Lord's day was 


drawing on, as the soldiers kept watch two by two on 
guard, there was a great voice from heaven : and they 
saw the heavens opened and two men descending thence 
with a great Hght and approaching the tomb. And that 
stone which was put at the door rolled away of itself 
and departed to one side, and both the young men 
entered in. When, therefore, the soldiers saw it, they 
awakened the centurions and the elders, for they too 
were hard by keeping watch. And as they declared 
what things they had seen, again they see coming forth 
from the tomb three men, and two supporting the one, 
and a Cross following them. And of the two the head 
reached unto the heaven, but the head of him that was 
led by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a 
voice from the heavens saying, Hast thou preached to 
them that sleep? And an answer was heard from the 
Cross, Yea." 

The last sentence is particularly interesting, as it 
illustrates the statements in i Pet. iii. 19, iv. 6, which 
assert that the Gospel was preached to "the spirits in 

Date of the Gospel of Peter. — Harnack regards the 
Gospel as a very early production, dating it between no 
and 130. The grounds upon which he arrives at this 
conclusion are : (a) The Gospel was used by Justin 
Martyr (150). {^) The account of the Resurrection 
implies an early date, because the scene of Christ's 


appearance to the disciples is laid in Galilee and not 
in Jerusalem. Harnack attaches a great deal of value 
to the Gospel, and looks upon it as a source "of first 
importance," after our canonical Gospels. Though 
Harnack's date has many supporters, a large number 
of scholars think that we must place the Gospel later, 
between 150 and 170, since its use by Justin Martyr 
cannot be proved. 


The Gospel of the Ebionites has often been identified 
with the Gospel according to the Hebrews on the 
strength of certain statements in Jerome and Epiphanius, 
who certainly confused the two narratives. Harnack, 
however, has clearly shown that the Gospel of the 
Ebionites is quite a distinct production. Only a few 
fragments of it remain. They may be found in 
Westcott's " Introduction to the Study of the Gospels," 
pp. 471-473. The fragments prove : (i) That the Gospel 
was originally ascribed to Matthew, since Matthew is 
personally addressed in the second person by Jesus. 
" Thee, Matthew, I called, as thou wert sitting at the 
receipt of custom." (2) That the Gospel was written in 
the interest of a sect which held vegetarian principles. 
In the account of John the Baptist, it is said that his 
food consisted of wild honey and honey-cakes — the 


latter term being substituted for the "locusts" of the 
Gospel narrative. The change is effected by the 
alteration of a couple of letters, the Greek word for 
locusts being akridas and for honey-cakes egkridas. 
For the same reason the statement of Luke xxii. 15, 
" With desire have I desired to eat this Passover," 
is changed into an interrogative : " Have I desired to eat 
this flesh, the Passover, with you?" The date of the 
Gospel is placed by Harnack between 180 and 200. 

The Gospel according to the Egyptians. — Harnack 
regards this Gospel as a document of the highest value. 
He thinks that it was originally written, as a counter- 
blast to the Gospel according to the Hebrews, for the 
use of Gentile Christians. Unfortunately we have only 
two authenticated excerpts from it : {a) A sentence pre- 
served in Epiphanius, which attributes to Christ the 
saying, to which so much importance was attached by 
the author of the Sabellian heresy, that " one and the 
same Being was alike Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." 
{b) An important extract preserved in Clement of 
Alexandria : — 

" When Salome asked, How long will death prevail ? 
the Lord said. As long as ye women bear children : 
for I have come to destroy the functions of women. 
And Salome said to him. Did I well, then, in not bearing 
children? And the Lord answered and said, Eat of 
every herb, but do not eat of that which is bitter. And 


when Salome asked when the things would be known 
about which she had inquired, the Lord said, When ye 
have trampled upon the garment of shame, and when the 
two shall be one and the male with the female neither 
male nor female." 

This quotation shows that the Gospel was written in 
the interest of a sect which regarded marriage as a sin. 
In spite of the fact that these two quotations constitute 
our only authenticated information with regard to the 
contents of the Gospel, Harnack thinks that it is 
possible to extend our knowledge, and claims for it 
certain other anonymous quotations which are found 
elsewhere. In the so-called Second Epistle of Clement 
of Rome, which is really a homily (ascribed by Harnack 
to Bishop Soter of Rome, about 170), there are a 
number of citations, giving sayings of Jesus, some of 
which cannot be traced back to any known source. 
One of them corresponds in many particulars to the 
authenticated fragment from the Gospel according to 
the Egyptians quoted above. Upon the basis of the 
identity of these two excerpts Harnack argues that (i) 
all the other quotations come from the same source, 
(2) and the fact that the Gospel is so largely drawn 
upon by a Roman bishop proves the exalted position 
which it held in the estimation of the Church. 
Harnack's arguments, however, are not conclusive. 
The quotation in II. Clement, upon which he relies for 


the identification, has many remarkable dissimilarities 
from the authenticated fragment, which must make us 
pause before we jump to the conclusion that they come 
from the same source ; and even if the identity of the 
two could be maintained, there would still be no proof 
that the other citations in 11. Clement were taken from 
the same Gospel. On the whole, it must be said that 
Harnack's position is "not proven." His attempt to 
rehabilitate the Gospel to the Egyptians cannot be 
regarded as successful. The most probable view is still 
that of the ancient Fathers, who describe it as a heretical 
Gospel written in the interests of the Sabellians and 
Encratites. Harnack's date, too, seems far too early. 
He places it in the reign of Trajan, certainly earlier than 
130. The Gospel could scarcely have originated, how- 
ever, before 150. 


In 1897 a papyrus fragment was discovered, in the 
mounds of Oxyrhynchus, an Egyptian town on the edge 
of the Libyan desert 120 miles south of Cairo, contain- 
ing seven or eight " Sayings of Jesus." 

The most important of these " Sayings " are as follows : 

" Jesus saith, Except ye fast to the world, ye shall in 

no wise find the kingdom of God ; and except ye make 

the Sabbath a real Sabbath ye shall not see the Father." 


"Jesus saith, I stood in the midst of the world, and in 
the flesh was I seen of them, and I found all men 
drunken, and none found I athirst among them, and my 
soul grieveth over the sons of men, because they are 
blind in their heart." 

" Jesus saith, Wherever there are (two), they are not 
without God, and wherever there is one alone, I say, I 
am with him. Raise the stone and there thou shalt 
find me; cleave the wood, and there am I." 

" Jesus saith, A prophet is not acceptable in his own 
country, neither doth a physician work cures upon them 
that know him." 

In 1904 further excavations at Oxyrhynchus brought 
to light another papyrus leaf with five more " Sayings," 
the most interesting of which are the following : — 

" Jesus saith, Let not him who seeks cease until he 
finds, and when he finds he shall be astonished ; 
astonished he shall reach the kingdom, and having the 
kingdom he shall rest." 

" Jesus saith, Ye ask. Who are those that draw us to the 
kingdom if the kingdom is in heaven ? The fowls of the 
air, and all beasts that are under the earth, and the fishes 
of the sea, these are they which draw you, and the 
kingdom of heaven is within you, and whosoever shall 
know himself shall find it. Strive, therefore, to know 
yourselves and ye shall be aware that ye are the sons of 
the Father, and ye shall know . . ." 


''Jesus saith, Everything that is not before thy face 
and that which is hidden from thee shall be revealed 
to thee, for there is nothing hidden which shall not be 
made manifest, nor buried which shall not be raised." 

These " Sayings " constitute a very interesting problem 
in criticism, which cannot at present be said to have 
found a satisfactory solution. It is easier to ask the 
questions which naturally come into the mind when we 
read them — e.g. Whence did they originate and what is 
their value ? — than it is to supply an answer. We shall 
probably have to wait for other " finds '' before we 
obtain the clue which will enable us to give a sure 
explanation of the "Sayings." Upon one point, how- 
ever, there seems to be a general agreement amongst 
scholars, viz. that the "Sayings" belong to a very early 
date. A.D. 140 is given as the latest possible time at 
which they could have come into existence, and they 
may possibly be considerably earlier than that ; some 
scholars suppose that they go back to the first century. 
Upon the question of the origin of the " Sayings " there 
is the utmost divergence of opinion amongst scholars. 
Some suppose that they are extracts from one of the 
Apocryphal Gospels. Harnack, for instance, thinks that 
they are excerpts from the Gospel of the Egyptians — a 
theory which is based upon his more than doubtful 
reconstruction of the Gospel in question. Others suggest 
the Gospel to the Hebrews or the Gospel of Thomas as 


the source from which they were taken. Others again, 
regard them as a cento of quotations taken not from 
a single Gospel but from several. It is impossible to 
make out a convincing case for any of these theories. 
There are no Gospels with which we are familiar which 
seem altogether to suit the character of the " Sayings." 
On the whole, opinion seems to be coming round to the 
view that the papyri represent an independent collection 
of the sayings of Jesus of very early origin. There is 
nothing to show that the collection was made in the 
interests of any heresy or schism in the Church. We 
seem to find in the papyri an illustration and example 
of the Logia, or collections of the sayings of Jesus, which 
we know must have been the earliest form, or one of the 
earliest forms, in which the Christian tradition took 
shape. To what extent the "Sayings" of the papyri 
preserve authentic utterances of Jesus cannot be deter- 
mined. As far as our present fragments are concerned, 
there seems to be no motive which explains the invention 
of " the sayings," though of course, if we had larger data 
to go upon, perhaps the key to the riddle might be found. 
If further discoveries do not reveal the hand of the 
heretic, or suggest a clue which can account for the manu- 
facture of the "Sayings," we shall be warranted in sup- 
posing that the collection preserves genuine elements 
of tradition, and so is a document which the student of 
the Gospels is bound to take into account. 




We possess some twenty-two documents — most of 
them belonging to a late date — which expand certain 
parts of the history of Christ's life by the addition of 
legendary embellishments. They may be divided into 
three classes : (a) Those which deal with the history 
of Joseph and Mary before the birth of Jesus, {b) 
Those which deal with the infancy and boyhood of 
Jesus, {c) Those which relate to the history of Pilate. 


I. The most important of the first class of legendary 
Gospels is the book known as the Protevangelium of 
James. This title does not appear in the document 
itself, but was given to it by Postel, who published the 
modern version of it in Latin in 1552. The book is 
extant in Greek, Syriac, and Coptic versions, and we 
possess no less than fifty MSS. of it altogether. The 
book may be divided into three parts : {a) The story of 
Mary before the birth of Jesus. Mary is the daughter 


of Joachim and Anna, who were childless till late in 
Hfe. They vowed that, if God would give them a 
child, they would dedicate it to His service. When 
Mary was three years old, they took her to the Temple, 
and placed her in the charge of the priests. When 
she reached the age of twelve, the priests, fearing the 
responsibility of keeping a marriageable girl in the 
Temple, resolved to place her in the charge of a widower. 
Joseph is miraculously chosen for the task, and Mary is 
placed in his keeping, {b) The account of the miraculous 
birth. The document follows in the main the narrative 
of Luke, though there are some important legendary addi- 
tions, e.g. the ordeal imposed on Joseph and Mary of 
drinking " the waters of jealousy," the unbelief of Salome, 
&:c. {c) The story of Zacharias. At the time of the 
slaughter of the Innocents, Elizabeth and the child John 
are miraculously saved by the opening of a mountain, which 
effectually conceals them from their pursuers. Zacharias, 
refusing to give information as to their hiding-place, is 
murdered by command of Herod. The utmost diversity 
of opinion exists among scholars with regard to the date 
of the Protevangelium. There are some, e.g. Zahn and 
Kriiger, who regard it as a very early document, and place 
it in the first decade of the second century (loo-iio). 
Others go to the opposite extreme, and hold that it 
belongs to the fourth century. Harnack strikes out a 
mediating position. He thinks that the Protevangelium 


is made up of three separate documents, (i) The story 
of Mary (which is, properly speaking, the Book of James) 
was written a little before 250. (2) The account of the 
birth of Jesus probably belongs to the end of the 
second century or the commencement of the third. (3) 
The Book of Zacharias dates from the opening decades 
of the third century. He agrees, however, with the pre- 
valent opinion, that in its present form the book does 
not go back beyond 350. The author of the Gospel was 
evidently a Jewish Christian, as is clearly proved from 
the interest which he takes in Jewish rites and ceremonies. 
This, however, does not prevent him from falling at times 
into serious anachronisms. The narrative does not seem 
to have been written in the interest of any doctrinal or 
ecclesiastical theory. There is no evidence to show that 
the writer advocated the Adoration of the Virgin, though 
the book certainly bears witness to the increasing sanctity 
which was attached to her. 

2. The Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew is laigely 
based upon the Protevangelium of James, the grcjater 
part of which it embodies. It carries the story to a 
later date, giving an account of the visit to Egypt, and 
recounting many miraculous incidents in the later boy 
hood of Jesus. It adds many new legendary elements 
to the narrative of the Protevangelium. For instance, it 
describes the adoration paid by the ox and ass to the 
infant Jesus as He lay in the manger at Bethlehem, and 


says that this was the fulfilment of the prophecy, " The 
ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib." 
The Gospel also describes many miraculous events which 
happened during the flight into Egypt ; how, for instance, 
lions and leopards adored the child, how a palm bowed 
its head at the child's command and supplied its fruit 
to satisfy His mother's need, how when He entered an 
idol-temple the idols all fell shattered to the ground. 
The account of the boyhood of Jesus is borrowed from 
the Gospel of Thomas, with which we shall have to 
deal later on. Pseudo- Matthew contains more mythical 
stories, probably, than any other Gospel, and cannot be 
dated earlier than the fifth century. 

3. The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary is also a 
lineal descendant of the Protevangelium. The story of 
Mary is told almost exactly upon the lines of the 
Protevangelium, though of course Mary now becomes 
the central figure of the narrative, and the story ends 
with the birth of Christ. There are some embellish- 
ments in the narrative, e.g. angelic visitations to Mary 
are of daily occurrence during her sojourn in the 
Temple. The Gospel of the Nativity can scarcely be 
earlier than the fifth century. It had a wide circulation, 
and exercised an important influence in mediaeval times 
— especially upon art and theology. 

4. The History of Joseph the Carpenter. — This 
Gospel, which is preserved in Arabic and Coptic, relates 


the story of the hfe of Joseph. The narrative is put 
into the mouth of Jesus, who is represented as telling 
it to the disciples on the Mount of Olives just before 
the Crucifixion. The first part of the story follows the 
Protevangelium, but carries the history on to the death 
of Joseph, who was about ninety years old when Jesus 
was born, and lived to the age of a hundred and eleven. 
Full particulars are given of various incidents connected 
with Joseph's death, e.g. his confession of sin and his 
conflict with devils, the miraculous preservation of his 
body from corruption, &c. It seems probable that the 
Gospel was composed in Egypt, possibly in the fifth 
century, to celebrate the Festival of Joseph's death. 

5. Another document which may be conveniently 
placed under the class of Apocrypha, though it does 
not deal specifically with the Virgin Birth, is the little 
work known as the Assumption of Mary, or the 
" Passing of Mary." It is found in several forms, which, 
though differing in details, are in substantial agreement 
with regard to the main points of the story. Two years 
after the Ascension of Jesus, Mary is warned that her 
end is approaching. The Apostles are miraculously 
borne on clouds from the ends of the earth to witness 
her departure. In the full sight of them all, Mary is 
carried up to heaven without dying. The document 
probably belongs, as Tischendorf thinks, to the fourth 



I. The most important of the Gospels which deal 
with the boyhood of Jesus is the Gospel of Thomas, 
which occupies the same place in this class as the 
Protevangelium in the former. We possess no less than 
four different recensions of this book : (a) the longer 
Greek, (^) the shorter Greek, (c) the Latin, (d) the 
Syriac. All these recensions differ in general contents 
as well as in detail, but contain enough common matter 
to prove that they were derived from the same source. 
The Syriac is not even ascribed to Thomas, . and is 
known simply as the "Syriac Gospel of the Boyhood 
of our Lord Jesus." These Gospels purport to describe 
the life of Jesus from His fifth to His twelfth year. 
They teem with miraculous events. The boy Jesus 
restores the dead to life, and also sometimes inflicts 
death upon those who thwart Him. He makes birds of 
clay and causes them to fly, miraculously lengthens a 
short piece of wood to make it equal to a longer, 
cures His brother James when he had been bitten by 
a venomous serpent, confounds His teachers by an 
exhibition of prodigious knowledge, &c. The portrait 
of Jesus is anything but majestic. The miracles are 
generally puerile displays of magical power, and lack 
the ethical motive which is so prominent in the Gospels 
of the New Testament. It is not easy to determine the 


date at which the Gospel of Thomas was written. We 
know that a Gospel of Thomas circulated in Gnostic 
circles in the second century. Hippolytus quotes from 
a Gospel of this name which, he says, was used by the 
sect of the Naasenes. Quotations in Irenseus (i8o) 
seem to imply that the Gospel was in existence at his 
time. We may be certain, therefore, that a Gospel of 
Thomas did exist amongst certain sects between 150 
and 180. But we cannot be sure that our version of the 
Gospel is identical with the Gnostic Thomas, for two 
reasons : (i) A quotation in Hippolytus taken from the 
Gnostic Thomas is not found in any of our recensions. 
(2) Our Gospel does not exhibit any traces of heresy. 
The probability therefore is, as Harnack suggests, that our 
Gospel is an expurgated edition of the Gnostic Thomas 
made in the interests of Catholic Christianity. When, and 
by whom, this version was made, cannot be determined. 
2. The only other Gospel of importance belonging to 
this class is the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. The 
author states that he derived his materials from "the book 
of Joseph the high priest, and some have said that he is 
Caiaphas." The contents of the book fall into three parts : 
(i) The story of the birth of Jesus, which is derived 
from the Protevangelium. (2) The story of the flight 
into Egypt, which has much in common with Pseudo- 
Matthew. (3) The story of the boyhood of Jesus, which 
seems to be taken from the Gospel of Thomas. 




A very large Apocryphal literature has gathered round 
the person of Pilate. By far the most important work 
is the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus — a book which 
obtained a remarkable popularity both in ancient and 
mediaeval times. The title is comparatively modern, 
and is not found till the thirteenth century. The Gospel 
of Nicodemus contains two documents of very different 
character and origin: (i) the Acts of Pilate; (2) the 
Descent of Jesus into the Underworld. There are 
several different recensions of both documents in Greek, 
Latin, and Armenian. A Coptic version also exists. 

The first document, the Acts of Pilate, contains an 
account of the trial of Jesus before Pilate and of the 
subsequent action taken by the Jewish Sanhedrin. The 
most important points in the narrative are : {a) The charge 
of illegitimacy which is brought against Christ by the 
Jews and successfully rebutted, (d) The defence of Jesus 
by Nicodemus, who proceeds on the lines of Gamaliel 
in Acts V. (c) The witness in favour of Christ by those 
whom He had healed, {d) The action of Joseph of 
Arimathea, and the persecution which he received from 
the priests, (e) The testimony to the Ascension of Jesus 
by the three men of Galilee. 

There is a keen controversy amongst scholars as to 
the date at which the Acts of Pilate was written. There 


are some who, like Tischendorf, suppose that it was 
written very early in the second century, and hold that 
it is therefore a very valuable document, containing 
genuine traditions, which may be used to expand the 
account of the Crucifixion in the Gospels. Others think 
that the book belongs to the fourth or even fifth century, 
and is a worthless compilation. The arguments in 
favour of the latter view, which has the support of 
Harnack, are: (i) Eusebius never mentions a Christian 
Gospel of Pilate, though he gives an account of a pagan 
Acts of Pilate, which was used in public schools 
to throw derision upon Chrisl;ianity. (2) The allusions 
to Acts of Pilate in Justin and TertuUian, which are 
the basis on which the theory of an early date rests, 
are inconclusive. It Is true that TertuUian does quote 
some document relating to Pilate, but there is no proof 
that this document is identical with the Gospel of Nico- 
demus. On the contrary, Harnack argues with much 
acumen that the statements of TertuUian were used by 
the author of Nicodemus as one of his sources. In 
spite of the fact that Dr. Rendel Harris has recently 
ingeniously championed the theory of an early date, 
the case for the genuineness of the Gospel cannot be 
made out. The probability is that the Gospel was 
composed as a Christian reply to the heathen Acts of 
Pilate mentioned by Eusebius. 

The second document of the Gospel deals with the 


descent of Christ into Hell. Two young men, Charinus 
and Leucius, who had been raised from the dead, 
describe the visit of Christ to Hades. They recount 
how suddenly a great light filled the underworld, how 
the Lord appeared in glory and, amid the songs of the 
redeemed, set up the Cross as the symbol of His triumph. 
The document is interesting because it expands and 
develops the statements in our First Epistle of Peter and 
the Apocryphal Gospel of Peter. The account, of course, 
is purely imaginary, and its sole value consists in the 
fact that it illustrates the position which this article of 
the Creed had obtained in the fourth century. 

There are five other minor documents dealing with 
Pilate, some of which are appended to the Gospel of 
Nicodemus in some MSS., viz. the Letter of Pilate to the 
Emperor Tiberius ; the Report of Pilate, which purports 
to be Pilate's official report of the Crucifixion of Christ 
to the Emperor ; the Paradoses of Pilate and the Death 
of Pilate, which give an account of Pilate's death : the 
Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea, which describes the 
part played by Joseph in the Crucifixion. All these 
are late fabrications, and have no claim to receive con- 
sideration from a historical point of view. 




More than a dozen different Apocryphal Acts have 
been preserved, of varying date and value. They all 
attempt to supplement our canonical Acts by giving 
an account of the lives and works of the Apostles. 
Amongst these Apocryphal books, the following are the 
most important : — 

The Acts of Paul and Thecla. — This book records an 
interesting episode in connection with Paul's visit to 
Iconium (Acts xiv. 1-7). Stripped of its mythical 
elements, the story is as follows. During his stay at 
Iconium, Paul lived in the house of Onesiphorus. In 
an adjoining mansion there resided a noble Iconian 
lady, named Thecla, who from her chamber often 
listened to Paul's preaching. She was fascinated by his 
message and became a Christian. This so enraged the 
members of her family and her affianced husband, 
Thamyris, that they induced the magistrates to cast 
Paul into prison. Thecla visited Paul in prison secredy, 



and when this was discovered, the Apostle was hurriedly 
expelled from the city. Thecla, however, resisted all the 
attempts which were made to induce her to renounce 
her Christian faith, and finally fled to Antioch, where she 
was arrested and condemned, on the charge of having 
insulted a pagan priest. She had a marvellous escape 
from the wild beasts in the amphitheatre, which refused 
to touch her, and was afterwards released. She subse- 
quently Hved under the protection of Queen Tryphsena, 
whom she was the means of converting to Christianity. 

There can be no reasonable doubt that the Acts of 
Thecla was written at a comparatively early date. 
Tertullian (a.d. 200) states that a presbyter of Asia had 
confessed to the authorship of the book, pleading that 
he had written it through his love to Paul. The book 
could scarcely, therefore, be later than 170, and this is 
the date at which Harnack puts it. Sir W. Ramsay 
holds that, though in its present form the book belongs 
to 130-160, yet the present version shows signs of being 
based upon an earlier document, w^hich originated in 
the first century. He accordingly regards it as con- 
taining a genuine tradition, and thinks that some such 
incident actually occurred. Harnack, however, argues 
that the case for the existence of an earlier document has 
not been made out, and maintains that the Acts of Thecla 
contains " a great deal of fiction and very little truth." 

The Acts of Thomas. — Next in importance to the 


Acts of Thecla comes the Acts of Thomas. This is 
a specially interesting book, because it bears upon its 
face the stamp of Gnostic influence. We shall not be 
far wrong if we describe it as a religious novel, with 
the Apostle Thomas for its hero, written in support of 
the doctrine of celibacy. According to the story of the 
book, when the world was parcelled out among the 
Apostles, India fell by lot to Thomas. He at first 
refused to go, and it was only when the Lord appeared 
to him and sold him as a slave to an Indian merchant, 
who was looking out for a carpenter, that he consented 
to undertake the mission. The most interesting 
incident in the book is the following. When Thomas 
arrived in India, he was commissioned by King 
Gundaphorus to erect a royal palace. He at once 
consented to undertake the contract, but instead of 
building a palace spent the king's money in relieving 
the wants of the poor. When the king returned and 
found no palace, he was exceedingly angry, and ordered 
Thomas to be arrested. It so happened, however, that the 
king's brother Gad died about this time. After death, 
upon arriving in heaven, he saw a beautiful palace, and 
asked permission to make it his home. He was told, 
however, that the palace had been built by Thomas for 
King Gundaphorus. Gad thereupon returned to earth, 
and, appearing to his brother, endeavoured to purchase 
the heavenly palace from him. This opened the eyes 


of Gundaphoms, and led to his conversion. The other 
stories in the book are all written to support the view that 
marriage is sinful, and celibacy the only right mode of 
life. Thomas's preaching finally resulted in his martyr- 
dom. He converted the wife of the chief minister, who 
refused to live any longer with her husband. The 
minister complained to the king, and he ordered his 
soldiers to put Thomas to death. The date of the Acts 
of Thomas is difficult to fix. The book is first mentioned 
by Eusebius, who denounces its heretical character. 
Our present version is possibly a purified version of the 
original Gnostic edition, made for the benefit of 
Catholic Christians. The majority of modern scholars, 
including Harnack, hold that it was not composed till 
after the commencement of the third century. 

The Acts of Andrew. — There are several documents 
which deal with the history of the Apostle Andrew, viz. 
the Acts of Andrew, the Acts of Andrew and Matthias, 
the Acts of Peter and Andrew. The most important 
incidents related in these documents are : (i) The story 
of Andrew's rescue of Matthew from the island of the 
cannibals. The narrative abounds in impossible and 
fantastic romances. Andrew receives orders from God 
to go to Matthew's help. When he reaches the coast 
he finds a boat, with Jesus at the helm under the guise 
of a steersman, and manned by angels under the form 
of sailors. Upon arriving at the island, he miraculously 


enters the prison. The warders fall dead when he 
breathes upon them, and Matthew is released. The 
most amazing scenes follow. A statue belches forth 
acrid water, which destroys all the inhabitants of the 
city. They are restored to life by Andrew's intervention, 
and eagerly embrace Christianity. (2) The story of 
Andrew's martyrdom at Patara in Achaia. The bulk of 
the narrative is taken up with a discussion between 
Andrew and the proconsul ^^geates. After a long 
argument, ^geates, unable to answer Andrew, orders 
him to be executed. The account of the crucifixion 
is full of marvels. Andrew hung upon the cross for 
three days and three nights, entrancing the crowd with 
his eloquence. The crowd, astonished at the miracle, 
begged that his life might be spared, but Andrew prayed 
that God might not allow him to be released. His 
prayer was answered, and he was suffered to die. 
Tradition ascribes the Acts to Leucius, who is supposed 
to have been a disciple of John the Apostle. Innocent 
I. (d. 417) says that it was written by the philosophers 
Nexocharis and Leonidas. The book is first mentioned 
by Eusebius, and we know from later references that it cir- 
culated at first amongst heretical sects. Our present frag- 
ments, however, contain no traces of heretical influence, 
and so probably represent a purified edition made for 
the use of ordinary Christians. The date can scarcely 
be earlier than the third century. 


The Acts of John describes : {a) The appearance of 
John before the Emperor Domitian in Rome. Domitian 
was anxious to stamp out Christianity. Information 
was given him that John was the champion of Christianity 
in Asia. Accordingly he at once sent soldiers to arrest 
him and bring him to Rome. John made a great 
impression upon the emperor, and by drinking a cup 
of poison without any ill effect convinced him that the 
new religion was not altogether a superstitious fancy. 
Unwilling, however, to revoke his edict against the 
Christians, Domitian ordered John to be imprisoned 
in the isle of Patmos. {b) The death of John. Towards 
the end of his life John called his disciples around him 
and bade them farewell, exhorting them in many speeches 
to remain loyal to the faith. Then he ordered a grave 
to be dug, threw in his clothes, and entered it alive. 
Next day his disciples found no trace of the Apostle, but 
there was a fountain where the grave had been. 

The book is associated in tradition with the name of 
Leucius. The stress which it lays upon celibacy and 
abstinence from meats shows that it emanated from 
heretical sects. Whether it belongs to the second or 
the third century cannot be determined. There is a com- 
parative freedom from romantic and fantastic elements 
about the book. 

The Acts of Philip, which appears in several forms, 
describes : {a) The work of Philip at Athens. Philip meets 


three hundred philosophers at Athens and expounds to 
them his doctrine. They ask for time to consider his 
arguments, and write to the high priest Ananias at 
Jerusalem asking him for information about Philip. 
Ananias determines to hurry to Athens at once, and con- 
front Philip before the Athenians. The book recounts 
the story of the meeting of Philip and Ananias and the 
utter discomfiture of the latter. The Athenian philo- 
sophers are converted and accept the Christian faith. 
(p) The martyrdom of Philip at Hierapolis. Philip came 
to Hierapolis in company with his sister Mariamne and 
Bartholomew, one of the seventy. Through the influence 
of Mariamne, Nicanora the wife of the proconsul was 
converted. This so infuriated " the gloomy tyrant, her 
husband," that he at once ordered the arrest and execu- 
tion of the missionaries. Philip was crucified head 
downwards, and the other two were subjected to the 
most shameful indignities. Philip, in the agony of his 
suffering, imprecated the vengeance of God upon the city. 
In response to his prayer, the abyss opened and swallowed 
up the persecutors. The Lord, however, appeared to 
him and reproached him for this act of vengeance, and 
told him that, because of it, he was doomed to die 
and spend forty days in the anguish of hell before 
entering heaven. The Acts of Philip can only be de- 
scribed as a religious novel of Gnostic origin. There is no 
evidence to prove that it belongs to the second century. 


The Acts of Peter and Paul. — A whole Apocryphal 
literature naturally clustered round the names of Peter 
and Paul. The Acts of Paul has unfortunately been 
lost, but the Acts of Peter and the Acts of Peter and 
Paul have been preserved for us, as well as some other 
documents of minor importance. The Acts of Peter 
and Paul are best known and most accessible to the 
ordinary reader since they appear in most collections of 
iVpocryphal literature. The story is as follows : The 
Emperor Nero is warned by the Jews that Paul is 
coming to Rome, and issues an edict ordering the 
governors of any city to which he may come to arrest 
him and put him to death. At Puteoli, Dioscurus, the 
captain of the ship, is mistaken for Paul, and put to 
death. Paul is thus enabled to reach Rome in safety. 
The Jews urge him to champion their religion and 
confute Peter, who is seeking to destroy the Mosaic 
Law. Paul promises them to put Peter to the test. The 
two men meet in the most amicable spirit, and find that 
their views are in exact agreement. Paul is successful 
in healing the feud between the Jewish and Gentile 
Christians of Rome. Then follows an account of the 
contest between the Apostles and Simon Magus in the 
presence of Nero. Simon performs many feats of witch- 
craft, and the Apostles work miracles of healing. Peter 
challenges Simon to a contest of thought-reading, which 
the latter declines. After several long debates and 


many rival exhibitions of skill, Simon undertakes to fly 
through the air. In the midst of his flight, the super- 
natural support which enabled him to achieve his success 
is withdrawn, owing to the prayers of the Apostles, and 
Simon falls to the ground and perishes. Nero orders 
the Apostles to be put into irons, and finally sentences 
Paul to be beheaded and Peter to be crucified. The 
Acts of Peter tell practically the same story, with the 
exception of the important fact that they contain no 
reference to the presence of Paul in Rome. The 
majority of scholars seem to be agreed that the 
Petrine Acts are the earlier version of the legend. 
Nothing can be definitely determined with regard to the 
date at which these works were wTitten. Harnack puts 
the Acts of Peter about 220. The Dutch scholar Van 
Manen thinks that both versions originated almost 
simultaneously in different circles of the Church about 
160. There can be no doubt that the contents of the 
books are mainly fiction. They may contain some 
germs of fact, but it is almost impossible to disconnect 
the fact from the fiction. They bear witness to the fact, 
however, that there was a strong tradition in the Church 
to the effect that both Peter and Paul were martyred in 



The Correspondence between Jesus and Abgarus. — 

Eusebius tells us that he discovered in the archives of 
Edessa two Epistles, one written by Abgarus to Jesus, 
and the other containing the reply of Jesus. These 
letters were in Syriac, and Eusebius translated them into 
Greek. The contents are as follows : Abgarus, King 
of Edessa, being smitten with a grievous disease, and 
having heard of the miracles wrought by Jesus in Pales- 
tine, asks Him to come to Edessa and heal him, saying 
that he was convinced that Jesus was either God come 
down from heaven or the Son of God. Jesus replies, 
" Blessed art thou, O Abgarus, who without seeing hast 
believed in me," but states that it is impossible to comply 
with the request because it is necessary for Him to fulfil 
the mission for which He had been sent into the world. 
After his death, however, He promises to send one of 
His disciples to cure Abgarus. The book from which 
Eusebius probably extracted these letters is still extant 
in Syriac. It is known as the Teaching of Addai, and 
was edited with an English translation by Dr. Phillips 
in 1876. It contains a great deal of material which 
Eusebius does not use, and w^hich possibly may be a 
later addendum to the original work. It relates how the 
promise given by Jesus was fulfilled by the mission of 


the Apostle Addai, who was sent by Thomas to heal 
Abgarus and preach the Gospel in Edessa. We have 
also a Greek version of the story, known as the Acts of 
Thaddaeus. There seems to be no possibility of doubt 
that the correspondence is fictitious. The first trace 
of Christianity in Edessa is not found till about a.d. 
200. The letters were probably forged in the third 
century by an Edessan Christian who was anxious to 
bring the origin of his Church into relationship with 

The Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans. — In his Epistle 
to the Colossians (iv. 16) Paul writes, "And when this 
Epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read 
also in the Church of the Laodiceans and that ye also 
read the Epistle from Laodicea." A letter is in existence 
which purports to be this " letter from Laodicea " men- 
tioned by Paul. It is found only in a Latin form (see 
Lightfoot's " Epistle to the Colossians," p. 285), but inter- 
nal evidence proves that it was originally written in Greek. 
"The Epistle," to quote the words of Lightfoot, "is a 
cento of Pauline phrases strung together without any 
definite connection or any clear object. . . ." " The 
Apostle's injunction in Col. iv. 16 suggested the forgery, 
and such currency as it ever attained was due to the 
support which that passage was supposed to give to it. 
Unlike most forgeries, it had no ulterior aim. It was 


not framed to advance any particular opinions, whether 
heterodox or orthodox. It has no doctrinal peculiarities. 
Thus it is quite harmless, so far as falsity and stupidity 
combined can ever be regarded as harmless." 

The Correspondence between Paul and Seneca. — 
Fourteen letters are in existence, six of which claim to 
have been written by Paul to Seneca, and the remaining 
eight by Seneca to Paul. The contents of these letters 
are very flimsy and uninteresting. They consist mainly 
of an interchange of compliments between the Apostle 
and the philosopher, and relate to an attempt which 
Seneca is supposed to be making to secure the interest 
of Nero in the writings of Paul. The letters carry their 
condemnation on their face. As Lightfoot says, " the 
letters are inane and unworthy throughout : the style of 
either correspondent is unlike his genuine writings : the 
relations between the two, as there represented, are 
highly improbable : and lastly the chronological notices 
(which, however, are absent in some important MSS.) 
are wrong in almost in every instance." The correspond- 
ence is obviously a forgery, dating probably from the 
fourth century, the object of it being either " to recom- 
mend Seneca to Christian readers or to recommend 
Christianity to students of Seneca." 



The Apocalypse of Peter. — The oldest of the Apocry- 
phal Apocalypses is undoubtedly that ascribed to Peter. 
A large fragment of it, containing probably about half the 
original book, has recently been discovered at Akmim 
(Pentapolis), together with the fragment of the Gospel 
of Peter. The Apocalypse enjoyed a great popularity in 
the early Church. It is mentioned in the Muratorian 
Fragment (about a.d. 170), was quoted by Clement of 
Alexandria (a.d. 200), and, as we know from the state- 
ment of the historian Sozomen, even as late as the fifth 
century, though it had been definitely rejected by Eusebius 
and other writers, was publicly read once a year in certain 
churches of Palestine. The Apocalypse has very little 
in common with the canonical Book of Revelation. The 
subject, which forms its theme, is the condition of the 
dead. The disciples are represented as coming to the 
Lord and asking Him to show them " one of the righteous 
brethren that had departed from the world, that they 
might see of what form they were and take courage." 
The fragment is made up of two visions : (a) the vision 
of the saints in Paradise, (^) the vision of Inferno. The 
first vision depicts the saints thus : "Their bodies were 
whiter than snow and redder than the rose, and the red 
was mingled with the white : there came forth from their 
countenance a ray as of the sun, and all their raiment 



was light such as never eye of man beheld." Paradise 
is described as a land " blooming with unfading flowers 
and full of spices and fair-flowering plants incorruptible 
and bearing a blessed fruit." It is, however, to the picture 
of Inferno that the Apocalypse devotes most space. 
The place of chastisement is described as " very squalid." 
It contained a lake of " flaming mire " and many other 
loathful places. Punishment is meted out to various 
types of sinners in different ways. Blasphemers, for 
instance, are described as hanging by their tongues over 
a flaming fire. Murderers were cast into a " narrow place 
full of evil reptiles." The selfish rich were rolled in 
torment upon red-hot pebbles sharper than any sword. 
Usurers were compelled to wallow up to the knees in " a 
lake of pitch and blood and boifing mire." The sensual 
were hurled from the top of a cliff into a deep abyss, and 
forced to reascend continually that the process might be 
repeated. The influence exerted by the Apocalypse can 
scarcely be overestimated. Its ideas reappear in other 
writings, e.g. the Apocalypses of Paul, the Sibylline Oracles, 
&c., and through these and other writings influenced 
mediaeval theology, and were thus the source from 
which Dante's picture of the Inferno was derived. The 
Apocalypse must have been of comparatively early origin. 
It can scarcely be later than a.d. 150, and may be even 

The Apocalypse of Paul is a weak imitation of the 


Apocalypse of Peter. It deals with the same theme, and 
gives a description of heaven and hell. It belongs, 
however, to a much later date, as the following passage 
shows : The angel, when asked what certain prisoners 
had done, who had been cast into a deep well in 
Inferno, replies, "These are they that denied that the 
Holy Mary is the Mother of God and said that the 
Lord did not become man out of her, and that the 
bread of thanksgiving and cup of blessing are not His 
flesh and blood." This statement is a clear proof that 
the Apocalypse could not have been written before the 
end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century. 


Abgarus, 174 

Achiacharus, 51 

Acts, Apccryphal, 123, 165-173 

Adam, 66, 75, 85 

Ahikar, 51 

Allegorical interpretation, 135, 

Almsgiving, 35, 49 
Andrew, Acts of, 168 
Angels, 50, 94, 58 
Angels, fall of, 75 
Apocalypse of Baruch, 81-85 
Apocalypse cf Peter, 177 
Apccalypses, New Testament, 

Apocalyptic literature — 

importance, 72 

contents, 6g 

meaning cf, 70 

origin, 71 
Apocrypha proper — 

value of, 1-6 

contents, 7 

character, 8 

origin, 9 

rejection, 11 
Apocrypha, wider, 69-73 
Apocrypha (New Test.) — 

character, 121 

origin, 121 

c:ntents, 122 

value, 124 
Arabic Gospel, 161 
Ascension of Isaiah, 94-99 
Assumption of Mary, 159 


Assumption of Moses, 85-88 

Azarias, prayer of, 55 

Baptism, 133 

Barnabas, Epistle of, 134-137 
Baruch, Apocalypse of, 81-85 
Earuch, Book of, 58-62, 65 
Bel and Dragon, 54 

Canon (Old Test.), 9-11 

(New Test.), 120-122 
" Christ," jj, 119 
Clement, Epistle of, 126-130 

Daniel, additions to, 52-55 
Demons, 50, 75, 94 
Didache, 130-134 
Doketism, 99, 124, 145-147 
Dualism, 43 

Ebionites, Gospel of, 148 

Ecclesiasticus, 31-38 

Egyptians, Gospel of, 149-151 

Enoch, Book of, 74-78 

Enoch, Secrets of, 78-81 

Epicureanism, 39 

Epistles, Apocryphal, 174 

Esdras I. , 24-29 

Esdras II., 62-67 

Esther, rest of, 56 

Ethics, 34, 36, 39, 103, 112, 132, 

Evil, problem of, 65, 71, 75, 82 
Ezra IV,, see Esdras II. 



Faith, (d'j 
Fall, the, 43, 66-85 
Fasting, 46, 50 
Forgiveness, 103 

Future Life, 19, 23, 35, 37, 43, 
67, 76, 99, 118 

Genesis, 89, 90 

Gentiles, 62, 104 

Gospels, Apocryphal, chaps, xiii. , 

Gospel of Ebionites, 148 
,, Egyptians, 149 
,, Hebrews, 141-145 

James, 154-157 
„ Nativity, 158 
., Nicodemus, 162 
,, Peter, 145-14S 
,, Pseudo-Matthew, 157 
,, Thomas, 160 

Hades, descent into, 164 
Heavens, doctrine of the, 79, 98 
Hebrews, G.:spe! of, 141-145 
Hedonism, 39 
Hellenism, 36, 43, 113, 114 
Heretical Gospels, 123, 145-151 
Hermas, 138-140 
Holy Spirit, 42, 98 
Hyrcanus, 17, 102 

Idolatry, 39, 55, 68 
Infancy, Gcspel of, t6i 
Isaiah, Ascension of, 94-99 

James, Gcspel of, 155-157 
Jason, 24 

Jeremy, Epistle of, 68 
Jesus, Sayings cf, 151-154 
John, Acts of, 170 
Joseph, History of, 158 
Josephus, 26, 27 

Jubilees, Book of, 89-94 
Judith, 44-47 

Laodicea, Epistle to, 175 
Law, the, 46, 49, 62, 91, 92, 94, 

Leontopolis, 21 
Leucius, 169 
Logia, 123, 151-154 
Luther, 47, 51 

Maccabees I. , 14-19 
,, II., 20-24 

III., 105-109 
,, IV., 110-115 
Manasseh, Prayer of, 57 
Maiy, Nativity of, 158 

,, Assumption of, 159 
Mastema, 94 
Merit, doctrine of, 85 
Messiah, 19, 67, 76, 77, 78, 83, 

95, 96, 98, 118 
Millennium, 71, 75, 80 
Moses, Assumption of, 85-88 

New Testament— 
Canon, 120-122 
inHuence of Apocrypha, 3, 5, 
43, -7^, 80, 84, 87, 93, 98, 
102, 114, 118 
Nicodemus, Gospel of, 162 

Old Testament — 
Canon, 9-11 
interpretation, 135 

Paradise, 178 

Patriarchs, Testaments of, 99-104 

Paul, Apocalypse of, 177 

Paul, Acts cf, 172 

Paul and Apocrypha, 5, 42, 43, 

80, 84, 93, 99, 102, 103, 114 
Paulinism, 129, 140 

I 8.2 


Peter, Acts of, 172 

,, Apocalypse of, 177 
,, Gospel of, 145-148 

Pharisees, 23, 53, 76, 91, 117 

Philip, Acts of, 170 

Philo, 40 

Pilate Documents, 162-164 

Pre-existence, 42 

, , of Messiah , 78 

Prayers for dead, 67 

Propitiation, 35, 115 

Protevangelium, 155-157 

Providence, 109 

Psalms of Solomon, 116-119 

Pseudo-Matthew, 157 

Quietism, 86, 113 

Resurrection, 84 [see Future 

Sadducees, 17, 117 

Sayings of Jesus, 151-154 

Seneca, 176 

Septuagint, 9, 41 

Shepherd of Hermas, 138-140 

Sin, original, 43, 66, 75, 76, 85 

Sirach, see Ecclesiasticus 

Slavonic Enoch, 78-81 
Solomon, Psalms of, 116-119 
Song of Three Children, 55 
Stoics, 109, 112-115 
Susanna, 52 

Teaching of Apostles, 130-134 
Temple, the, 28, 46, 52 
Testaments of Patriarchs, 99-104 
Thecla, Acts of, 165 
Thomas, Acts of, 166 
Thomas, Gospel cf, 160 
Tobit, 47-51 
Trinity, 42, 96 

Universalism, 104 
Utilitarianism, 36, 39 

Vegetarianism, 148 
Virgin Birth, 96, 155-159 
Vulgate, 8 

Wisdom, 35, 42, 59 
Wisdom, Book of, 42-59 
Wisdom literature, 30, 59 
Works, 67, 85 

Zealots, 86, 87 

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*GENESIS, by the Rev. Prof. W. H. Bennett, Litt.D., D.D. 
*EXODUS, by the Rev. Prof. W. H. Bennett, Litt.D., D.D. 
LEVITICUS AND NUMBERS, by the Rev. Prof. A. R. S. Kennedy 

*DEUTERONOMY and JOSHUA, by the Rev. Prof. H. Wheeler 

Robinson, M.A., B.D. 
*JUDGES AND RUTH, by the Rev. G. W. Thatcher, M.A., B.D. 
*I. AND XL SAAIUEL, by the Rev. Prof. A. R. S. Kennedy, M.A., D.D. 
*I. AND 11. KINGS, by the Rev. Prof. Skinner, D.D. 
*I. AND II. CHRONICLES, by the Rev. W. Harvev-Jellie, M.A., B.D. 
EZRA, NEHEMIAH, and ESTHER, by the Rev. Prof. T. Witton 

Davies, B.A., Ph.D. 
*JOB, by Prof. A. S. Peake, M.A., B.D. 

*PSALMS (Vol. I.) I. to LXXII., by the Rev. Prof. Davison, M.A., D.D. 
*PSALMS (Vol. II.) LXXIII. to END, by the Rev. Prof. T. Witton 

Davies, B.A., Ph.D. 

Prof. G. CuKRiE Martin, M.A., B.D. 
*ISAIAH, by the Rev. Principal Whitehouse, M.A., D.D. 
*ISAIAH XL-LXIII, by the Rev. Principal Whitehouse, M.A., D.D. 
JEREMIAH and LAMENTATIONS, by Prof. A. S. Peake, M.A., B.D. 
*EZEKIEL, by the Rev. Prof. W. F. Lofthouse, M.A. 

DANIEL, by the Rev. Prof. R. H. Charles, D.D. 
*MINOR PROPHETS : Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, by 

the Rev. R. F. Horton, M.A., D.D. 
*MINOR PROPHETS : Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zecha- 

RiAH, Malachi, by the Rev. Canon Driver, Litt.D., D.D. 

*i. MATTHEW, by the Rev. Prof. W. F. Slater, M.A. 

*2. MARK, by the late Principal Salmond, D.D. 

*3. LUKE, by Principal W. F. Adeney, M.A., D.D. 

*4. JOHN, by the Rev. J. A. M'Clvmont, D.D. 

*5. ACTS, by the Rev. Prof. J. Vernon Bartlet, M.A., D.D. 

*6. ROMANS, by the Rev. Prof. A. E. Garvie, M.A., D.D. 

*7. I. AND II. CORINTHIANS, by Prof J. Massie, M.A., D.D. 


Rev. Prof. G. Currie Martin, M.A., B.D. 
Adeney, M.A., D.D. 
*io. THE PASTORAL EPISTLES, by the Rev. R. F. Horton, MA., D.D. 
*ii. HEBREWS, by Prof. A. S. Peake, M.A., B.D. 
*i2. THE GENERAL EPISTLES, by the Rev. Prof. W. H. Bennett 

Litt.D., D.D. 
*i3. REVELATION, by the Rev. C. Anderson Scott, M.A. 
{Those marked * are already published.\ 

London: T. C. & E. C. J.-\CK, i6 PIenrietta Street 
And Edinburgh 

Date Due 






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MAY 2 6 'K 



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?k499£ 00117 5442 

the Old & New Te 

BS 1700 . A63 1908 

Andrews, Herbert Tom, 1864 

The Apocryphal books of the 
Old & New Testament